May 29 – Back To Front

The Prompt

Write a story starting with the climax and working backwards to find out how we got there

This prompt might be easier for plotters than people who prefer to discover as they write. Then again, it might not. Let’s find out.

The Prompt

Write a story starting with the climax and working backwards to find out how we got there


  • Don’t worry about being cheesy and writing “meanwhile” or “five minutes earlier”. This is meant to be a fun exercise. Allow yourself to have some fun.
  • It still all starts with a character. Think of a character who wants something, doesn’t want something else and put them in their worst nightmare situation.
  • It can be something as overdone as finding themselves in their pajamas in a school hallway. Maybe she’s an adult, face to face with her mortified teenage son and all his classmates. Have her talk to someone (perhaps directly to the reader) and start to explain how she found themselves in this mess.
  • In each subsequent scene, start things off with another mystery (the character, still in her pajamas, and we still don’t know why) is on a bus, no, at the wheel of a bus. Explain how she got into that situation and what happened to the real driver, let it run into the school wall and her jump out to find help, then skip back to another, earlier scene. This time she’s running down the street (again, in her pajamas) away from an irate grandmother, who is shaking a walking frame at her. Explain that one and leave her at the bus stop, then flip back to the moment before she annoyed the grandmother; the moment when she discovered she was on her front step in her pajamas with he keys on the other side of the door. Explain how she went from there, to annoying granny, to being forced to seek shelter on a bus, whose driver was incapacitated, to whatever happened to get her into the school. Then, once last scene could show her very normal, serene morning: a morning in which she decides to stay in her pjs just a few minutes more, only then there’s a knock at the door.`
  • This doesn’t have to be a farce. Think of movies like Memento and Looper. Feed the reader little bits of information. Keep them disoriented.  Or think of
  • Pick your own character and nightmare scenario and…


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One thought on “May 29 – Back To Front”

  1. This was a bit of a challenge for me on two fronts. I was away on business all day yesterday and that involved 4-hour flight home, which was delayed and therefore I didn’t finish it till today (the next day!).

    But more critically, the story ran away with me to become an 1800 word monster (for me) as I struggled to get back to climax I’d arranged for myself.

    In the end, I did it and came up with this http://wp.me/p6fuUE-2U

    Plenty more mileage in this story, I think…

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