Writing Exercises & Prompts, Writing Prompts
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Writing Prompt: The First Line

Once upon a time

Graphic by Candice Coates



CHALLENGE: The opening line of every story, and ever poem, every movie, etcetera, is one that gives the audience a sample of what is to come. It sets the stage for the characters and presents the tension or laughter that awaits those who are following along within our imaginations. When we write (when I write) I do my best to make sure that the first line hooks my readers. But what if you don’t have control over WHAT that first line says, or for that matter the LAST line either? In this challenge you are to use 30 minutes or less to write a story or a poem using both a generic opening line as well as ending line.  Let’s get our jars out once again!


*note* have each group prepared before you begin drawing from the jar(s) this way your drawing process will be more authentic and random.

1.  Put 5 nouns in a jar. Example: She, He, The Cat etc.

2. Next 5 words like IS, WAS, HAS

3. Next 5 like Incredible, lovely, mad, angry

4. Next 5 places, times, or events.  Example: In the house, when the cat was drowning, yesterday morning.

6. After building your sentence, “She was lovely when the cat was drowning.” Spend 15 min (or less) creating a narrative focused around this (your) stellar opening line.

7. After 20min create a new sentence from your jars “The cat was angry yesterday morning.” and use this as your ending line to your poem or story.

*TIP* If you find that your sentence doesn’t flow well “He HAS angry when the cat was drowning.” Feel free to change “Has” to “was”.


REMEMBER, if you participate in the challenge, please add a link back to this page and share your results!

I will, as always post my results next Tuesday! 😀


1 Comment

  1. Pingback: The Machine | Creative Metaphor

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