The One about Writing Exercises – 1. Beginnings

As I mentioned before, I am a master procrastinator. I will find anything to do except what I need to be doing. Even if it is something I actually enjoy doing, like writing.

Writing is never really the issue. Writing a coherent and cohesive story is. I start. Then I start again, and again. My Google Drive is full of beginnings, character profiles and beat sheets (courtesy of screenwriter guru Blake Snyder).

I have now completed 2 writing workshops (Beginners and Intermediate) and I am waiting to start the Advanced one.

I have bought numerous books on creative writing, mostly about general fiction writing and right now, this is what I am using to procrastinate, skill practise.

Saying that, I have decided to dedicate regular posts to the exercises suggested by the book: What If? by Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter. I bought it second hand from Amazon.

Maybe this will force me to write more and maybe it will help me add to my story* bit by bit.

The book is a bit dated (1990) and maybe a little snobbish when it comes to more fun genres like sci-fi and fantasy but the exercises are sound (I think).

So like all good stories, this book start at the beginning…

Exercise 1: Write 5 of your own opening lines for 5 different stories…the advice from the book is to try to start in media res (in the middle of things) – I think they quite like big words in there and the use of Latin. They also recommend to do one opening line every day for the rest of your life, to keep perfecting it. We’ll see.

So here is my contribution…

1. ‘Absolutely not!’ I said, looking at my best friend Chiara, straight into her baby blue eyes ; she was the only person in the world I could stand up to and know she will stay my friend.

2. They came at night, whilst everyone was sound asleep, feeling safe and warm in their beds, with weapons never seen before, bringing mayhem, death and destruction so no one would ever feel safe again at night.

3. The sound of the gunshots resonated so loudly in the arena that it made her ears ring, her hand jerked back from the recoil and the smell of gunpowder made her nose itch; and just like that, she became a murderer.

4. It was still dark and quiet when I left the house, leaving my teenage son sound asleep.

5. My name is Stryder – no first name, thank you very much – and I am a demon hunter.


The first two came quite easily although, I had originally written them as a couple of shorter sentences (and I think it probably works better in short sentence) but the exercise was about one sentence, not a paragraph.

Feel free to contribute your own in the comment section.










* I have yet again changed the premise of my story. Having chosen one for my last class and subsequently decided that I didn’t know where I was going with it. I chose another, in another genre, which I have also abandoned and I am not back to my first genre but with a different story…yeah, I know *sigh*.


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