[Write on Wednesday] Tell a Story Backwards

This week I’m encouraging you to flip the order of your story to help you think differently about the storytelling process.

Man walking on green grass. Photo by Isaac Mehegan on Unsplash

The Prompt

Start your story with the character walking away from a situation (figuratively-speaking) and then go back and explain how he/she got there.


  • Think of TV shows that start with a dramatic scene then jump back to eight hours earlier and show how the characters ended up there – in this case you can tell the rest of the story in chronological order from beginning to the moment we entered the story (Looks at the camera: this is where you came in…)
  • Another option is to step back through the day moment by moment, unpacking every event and the event before it, in reverse order. This can be very powerful if you take the readers on an emotional rollercoaster
  • Or you can do some blend of the two.
  • The great thing about this is that you know where you’re going, all the way through the story because you know the outcome. You know what you have to set up to make the ‘ending’ work. Even if you never use this story form again, it’s a great exercise that you can use to rough out the end of a novel or longer story, any time you get stuck!

If you share you story somewhere (and here’s why you might not want to) post a link here so we can come and read it.

Discussion:  What kind of event did you start with. Did you find it easy to tell the story in reverse? Would you use this technique again?

Leave a comment to let us know what you wrote about today, and how it went!

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