Writing Exercise: Beginning, Middle, End

Sorry for the month long break but after the bad news I needed a little me time. That, and the Internet is down where I live. Plus it’s still down. But rather than eat one more bucket of ice cream or my body weight in Fruit Loops and Apple Jacks I’ve decided it’s best to ride this roller coaster called life until the wheels fall off and all ten horses are mercifully put down with a well placed shot between the eyes…or until I get a better set of wheels.
But either way, for those of in the early planning stages of a story you have in mind but you haven’t quite “fleshed” it out yet, try this exercise. It might help and it couldn’t hurt, unless you’re a wuss 😉

Most creative writing teachers and creative writers themselves tend to do this exercise separately. Not me. I believe it’s far better for proper story development if you do it together. But before you get hands on, first star with this preliminary exercise.

Get a piece of paper or open a word processor, whatever makes you happy, and list your favorite books and/or movies, preferably books. Next to each book/movie write down the first line, the last line, and your favorite line from said book and/or movie.
I know many of you are going to skip this step anyway. It doesn’t matter. Most do. However the exercise is far more effective when you take the time to stretch your writing muscles.
When you’re done, look at the sentences. Ask yourself why the author chose to begin and end the story that way. Then ask yourself why favorite line is your favorite.
When your done with this step move to to main exercise

Get another piece of paper or use a word process, again, whatever makes you happy, and make a list of opening lines, closing lines and a line that may end up one of your reader’s favorite lines.
Here’s my current favorite example:

First: “When going to war always make sure have more guns than the other guy.”

Last: She vanished, leaving only smoke and silence in her wake.

Favorite: Light twisted around the black hole.

Those three sentences are just one set of many whenever I’m brainstorming. And it’s not just for stories. Stuck on a chapter? Try writing the first sentence of the chapter, the last sentence and some interesting sentence in the middle. With some thought and imagination (you are a writer, aren’t you?) you should be able to connect the dots between the beginning, the middle and end. The real fun is filling the gaps.

I’ll do my best to update every week but don’t hold me to that. But I will try. Hopefully I’ll see you next week.


About berleykerr

A Steampunk Author from Los Angeles.
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4 Responses to Writing Exercise: Beginning, Middle, End

  1. Michael Fagen says:

    I have to say, I recently stumbled upon your page while looking for a freeware fantasy mapping program. I am so glad I stumbled. I have read through a few pages and you break things down in such ways that can’t help BUT make sense. So I don’t know quite what possessed you TO do this, but thank you.

  2. Michael Fagen says:

    I recently had a bit of a mishap in that the fantasy story I had worked, complete with all the maps and everything…well let’s just say since I parted ways from my ex-wife, I no longer have any of it and so I must start over…but your site is bringing to light things I had never considered. What would the best way be to proceed, in your opinion?

    • berleykerr says:

      First you should establish what time period the world of your novel is in and how big is this world? The time period, whether its medieval, colonial, industrial, modern, futuristic, will instantly tell you things like social structure, clothing, weapons, politics, behavior and so on. I can’t count the number of time I’ve read a story where even the poorest medieval peasants can still read even though the illiteracy rate was very, VERY high. Plus they seem to be immune to all the diseases everyone else in their time seemed to die of. As for the size, keep in mind, the larger the world and the population, the greater the cultural diversity. I hope this helps.

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