2019 Day 14 – Openings, Endings & Titles

The Prompt

Focus on the opening, ending & title

  • Write a sketchy first draft today. Tear through it. Get the story written.
  • Then go back and craft an opening line that contains a strong sense of who is telling the story, when it is set, where it is set and what kind of story it’s going to be (Is it going to be a murder mystery? Get the body into the first line. Is it a historical romance? Give me gas lamps and corsetry!)
  • Next, work on your ending. Echo the opening scene with a similar-but-different scene, symbolizing your character’s growth/change. Or leave us with an open-ended question, but make sure we know enough about your character to have an idea what their next action might be. Or use a poetic line that sums up the theme of the story.
  • Finally write a title that doesn’t tell me what your story is about but intrigues me with an unusual idea, phrase, pun or twist on an old saying or song title. Remember the title is the sizzle that sells the story.

Some of my favorite short story titles:

  • Vampires in the Lemon Grove
  • Baby’s First Kill
  • ‘Gator Butchering for Beginners
  • An Open Letter To The Person Who Took My Smoothie From The Breakroom Fridge
  • Stop — because if you’re paying attention, it represents two different meanings of the word
  • The Lady Astronaut of Mars
  • A Perimenopausal Jacqueline Kennedy, Two Years After the Assassination, Aboard the M/Y Christina, off Eubeoa, Bound for the Island of Alonnisos, Devastated by a Recent Earthquake, Drinks Her Fourth Bloody Mary with Mrs. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jr. — a fine example of how to circumvent the word-count limit in flash fiction!
  • Afterthought, Aftermath, Aftershock
  • The Worshipful Society of Glovers
  • A List of Forty-Nine Lies

I’d love it if you’d leave your opening and ending lines and title, below!

Leave a comment and let us know how it went today.

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11 thoughts on “2019 Day 14 – Openings, Endings & Titles”

  1. Sorry this post is late today (messed up the timing). Embrace the extra challenge of writing extra-quickly today 😉

  2. Title: Ghosts

    Opening: “You’ve suffered a great loss,” Dr. Allan says. She crosses her legs primly, readjusting her notebook across her lap. “It is understandable there would be some confusion.”
    “And what loss is that? My wife or my sanity?” I ask her. Annoyance flickers across her face before she smooths it away. She thinks I am joking, but I am not. I can never remember which one she is. Which reality she is from.

    Ending: “I know what you are now.”
    Neither answers me. But that’s alright. My answer lies in the rose garden on the east lawn and the plaque nearly buried within the thick blooms.
    In Memory of Dr. Theodore Richards
    1917-1978

  3. Challenging Prompt! Here’s my attempt, it’s a very short story. I had the hardest time with the title, it’s either really good or really bad, I haven’t decided yet.

    Title: A Woman Stands

    Opening: A woman stands in a beautiful white gown on a gorgeous autumn afternoon. The wind blows her veil lightly as she exults in the moment – “I wont be alone anymore.”

    Ending: The woman stands in a lovely white kitchen on a nice autumn evening. The scream rattles her anxious nerves as she returns to the present moment – “I’m never alone anymore.”

  4. Story is done. My MC is a pretty nasty individual. My first line: To be assassinated you have to be of a certain status and piss the right people off. Hunter had accomplished both with beautiful chaos. Ending line is : Chaos squelched. I don’t like it though. The title is THE HIT for now…still working on a list. A Miss is as Good As a Loss is another option.

  5. Had some fun with this one. Of course it’s not finished, but yay for having fun!

    Title: Medievals Are Killing Witchcraft With Their Turnip Toast Triangles

    First line: Mahree knew her final exam was one of the papers currently doing a jitterbug behind the teacher’s desk, but the exams would not allow any student to catch them.

  6. All right, here’s the result:
    Title: Level of Peace
    First Line: Fires morphed the sand into glass, quickly creating a coffin a la Snow White’s.
    Last Line: Each passing wave grasped a part of the sandcastle, freeing the sea life underneath.

  7. The title of my story is: The mystery of the missing money

    Starting lines:
    It was mother’s day tomorrow, and I wanted to do something special for mummy. She is the best mummy in the world and I wanted to make this day her happiest day and show her how much I loved her. I knew what she wanted, and I had a plan on how I’ll spring the surprise on her.

    Ending lines:
    And so, I couldn’t get mummy what I had planned earlier, but she told me she had the best mother’s day anyway!!

  8. Title: The Extra Pillow
    First line: Miranda stared at the crossword puzzle. “Aphrodite,” Alan said, bouncing into bed.

    Ending: Miranda held on tight to Alan. If she kept holding on he couldn’t leave her like last time. When she opened her eyes it was dark and she was all alone clutching the extra pillow.

  9. My title is ‘A Pair of Blue Eyes’

    Opening:
    The prospect of a new life in a new country brought Julie a surge of excitement as the train approached Berlin. Annoyingly, this turned to apprehension as she heard her mother’s parting words echoing in her mind. Words she had chosen to ignore.

    Ending:
    The case of mistaken identity was nobody’s fault. It really did not need an explanation, but Julie was expected to give one.
    However, she was totally unaware of this. She heard nothing. She was locked in the arms of the blue eyed man and all they could hear was the beat of each other’s heart.

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