I’m always amazed at what different writers do with the same opening line. Here’s an opening to a flash-fiction piece I wrote in one of my classes. My story has an eerie quality about it. What will you do with this opening?
They never knew who the artist was, but…
We’ve all had this happen to us… or seem to happen. In the dead of night, when the shadows hover close, when we don’t know who is there, or what will happen… set your timer for 15 minutes and begin writing:
It moved by itself.
Our characters can’t always be right. They can’t always succeed, or our stories would be only a few pages in length. They have to fail, sometimes over and over, and deal with the consequences—and emotions—that come with failure. So, again we mine our own lives for the emotions we need for our characters. 15 minutes…
Write about a time you failed.
Humor can help ease things when tension mounts too high. It also gives readers a place to breathe, before the tensions ramps up again. And the lighter side of characters helps bond them to readers. So, here’s a prompt to help you with the lighter side of writing.
Oh, that’s a funny story…
Still in the theme of Halloween and weird, scary stuff, this prompt will make you work for your ideas. Just what is happening here? Is it real, or???
I’d never before seen time run backwards.
Here’s another suspense-filled opening to sink your teeth into. Just what is happening here? Set your timer for 15 minutes and write:
It was the gun she held that convinced me she was serious.
The completely strange and foreign can serve as a spark for story ideas. Even if you never want to write science fiction or fantasy, venturing out into the genre can help your imagination soar when you return to what you usually write. And it’s especially appropriate at this time of year. Happy Halloween!
Three moons, it was supposed to have three moons.
We have all felt alone at times, been places where we didn’t seem to fit in, where no one spoke to us or noticed us. We can mine those emotions for our stories. Here’s a prompt to help you do just that, for those times your characters struggle with the same emotions.
Write about being anonymous.
I thought of my son (whose birthday is tomorrow) and his little BMW when I wrote this. It set my mind spinning. Does it do the same for you? What was it about the car? Whose car was it? And what did he tell them?
Not until they saw the car did they believe what he told them.
Lists can jump-start our creativity, so here’s an opening that incorporates the beginning of a list. It’s up to you to discover the rest of the list, as your story unfolds. Set that timer and begin to write!
First, identify the stakeholders…