Hello friends and welcome back to another week of writing prompts. How was your weekend? Not too wet, I hope. It’s been very wet up here in NE. I saw a statistic the other day that said we set a record for the most days in a month with precipitation with 21 days in April. No wonder it felt like the river was under a flood warning the entire month. It literally rained 2 out of every 3 days.
May hasn’t been much better. I’m not sure when I last saw the sun, though yesterday was just humid and overcast all day. I finally saw Endgame. Went to an early matinee so we could still have the afternoon to do some yardwork. I didn’t cry quite as much as I expected to. I only used one tissue the whole movie! It was very sad but incredibly satisfying.
So today’s post is coming up a bit later than usual because I wasn’t sure what to write about today. Usually on Sundays I have a topic or theme I want to ramble on about for a few paragraphs before I give you the prompts you come here for. And yes, sometimes that boils down to me detailing my weekend plans for a post, but those are only for weekends where I do anything interesting. For the most part, my weekends are pretty routine. Aside from the movie, I didn’t do anything exciting this weekend.
When I struggle to start writing, sometimes I will skip ahead to something I know is coming later and work my way backwards from that. I’ve done that with a few posts here. Overindulgence and Recycling are two that stick out because I remember writing their endings first. With 250+ prompts, I’m sure I’ve done it on a few others, but I recall those two specifically.
For the longest time, I wrote linearly. And it worked for me. Right up until the point where I hit a block and didn’t know how to work around it. I’ve had no small number of tales end abruptly because I couldn’t see a way through the block. I would see what needed to come after, but not how to get there, and it would frustrate me so much I would shelf it for another time when the muse would cooperate. Sometimes distance would help me see better and I would overcome the block. Sometimes I never went back at all.
I don’t remember exactly when my linear habit changed, but I saw a “trick” somewhere (probably Pinterest, knowing me) that essentially said there was no reason not to write the part you are looking forward to writing because you could always fill in the gaps later. Sometimes, by doing so, you get a better view of the problem and can remove the block much easier from the other side. What once seemed anathema to me (i.e. must write it down in order, cannot deviate from the path) became very silly. I’ve been able to write so much more because I know now that I can stitch them together later.
It’s not that I didn’t know it could be done that way. Rationally, I knew plenty of other writers wrote piece by piece and cut and stitched their stories together. But it wasn’t how I wrote. It wasn’t something I could be good at. I had to go from point A to point B in a straight line first. Except it wasn’t working for me. Not 100% of the time, anyway. And then I saw the “trick” or quote or whatever it was that was phrased in such a way that my brain went “oh wait a minute, that makes a lot of sense, we should try that!”
I still write linearly for the most part. But now I’m not afraid to skip a scene I am struggling with and continue on with the next part. Even on a Sunday blog post. I typed up this list of prompts and my closing paragraph before any of this. So what’s on deck for this week?
256. When was the last time someone truly listened to you?
257. If you had the resources and extra time to go back to school, what would you like to study?
258. What is standing in your way right now?
259. Why are families important? What do families provide that we cannot find on our own?
260. What is one phrase you would really like to hear right now?
Those are some great prompts. Hopefully the muse is affable and we all have a great week of writing! I usually only say this on my weeknight posts, but it’s getting late and I should be getting ready for bed. I hope you had a great weekend! See you tomorrow!
PS-Like these prompts? Like the short stories I write based on these prompts? Want to show your support? Give the blog a follow! Leave a comment! Buy me a coffee! I put a lot of time and effort into these posts and your support means the world to me! Ok, now go out there and write!
3 thoughts on “Begin at the End”
For 30 years, I worked as a radio DJ full time. In 30 years, I must have heard “DJ’s talk too much” a gazillion times. While in many cases that is true, the real issue is that many start talking without knowing where their talk is going to end. Your post is not odd at all! One of my coaches once showed me how to write a “bit” to use on the air (Keep in mind, most bits should be 30 seconds max. 60 seconds if you can really sell it, but in reality, he used to say “you’ve got 20 seconds.” That’s about how long a listener will listen before switching the station – unless you get their attention and talk about something they are interested in).
First, you find your topic. Next you write the end. If it is a joke, you write the punchline first. Where does the story or bit need to end? If you are posing a question, making a statement or trying to prove a point – you write that FIRST. Then you write your opening ‘attention getter”, your lead in, or set up. Examples: Have you noticed the overabundance of credit card offers you get in the mail? You will never believe what happened to me at the grocery store today! Did you see what they did on (local street) yesterday?
Once you have your ending (punchline, kicker, statement), and you know how you are going to start the bit, now you find the quickest way to elaborate to get there. In stories, blogs, or writing, we edit, edit, edit. Same thing here. By knowing where you are going, and knowing how you are going to get your listener’s (or reader’s) attention – now you can get there fast and without wasting their time (which is what most DJ’s do).
Sorry for the novel … your post reminded me of this and I just wanted to say, it’s not odd to start with the end in mind. Word is, that’s what George Lucas did with Star Wars – he knew exactly how he wanted that story to end … and wrote with the end in mind.
Keep up the great work!
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That’s so cool! I do recognize the differences in the DJs I like versus the ones I don’t tend to come down to how they structure/deliver their “bits.” It’s a surprisingly efficient method of getting there!
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It really is!