People’s memories of events are shaped by their experiences in the last few minutes. Stories are no different. You could write the best story in the world but if the opening isn’t good, no one will read it; and worse, if the ending is bad, they will remember the let-down, not the beautiful writing and ideas in the body of the tale.
We’re going to work on avoiding that problem, today!
Normally I tell you to write these stories quickly and not worry too much about them. These Wednesday writing prompts are meant to get you writing, and not to do much more.
Today, I still want you to write a quick’n’dirty flash fiction draft, but then I want you to go back in and worry it like a dog with a bone.
Quickly write a flash fiction story (1000 words or fewer). Read through it. Pick out your theme/big question. Now spend a chunk of time crafting the perfect title, opening line and ending.
- Opening lines should contain a deeper meaning after the story has been read. Check out my blog post on the Magic of Opening Lines.
- Your last line might sum things up, after the action of the story has ended. This helps you avoid the ‘punchline’ pit fall of writing flash fiction, while also helping the story feel properly finished.
- Look through your story for a theme. See if you can summarize it in fortune cookie format.
- Use that fortune cookie summary to craft a final line for your story. The last line shouldn’t actually read like a fortune cookie, but it should contain some of the ideas within it.
- Your last line can come in the voice of one of the characters or the narrator can leave readers with a final thought.
- It’s not a bad idea to leave your reader with some questions. If you make them think about your story after it’s finished, they’ll remember it for a long time. Ending with a literal questions, however, might be a little corny.
- Try each of these things multiple times. Work on your opening lines until you have a few you like. Do the same with the last line. Now look at which of your attempts work best together. Tweak, tweak, tweak!
Leave a comment to let me know how you got on, and what you learned.