Sentence Starters – The Time…

I write lists in the back of my notebook. Or sometimes on scraps of paper. These ‘sentence starters’ becoming the perfect jumping off point into your writing.

This first sentence starter is called ‘The Time’. The point is to list as many standout moments as possible.

For instance, it could start:

  • The time our son was born.
  • The time I went to Italy.
  • The time I first met my wife.
  • The time our neighbour flooded our apartment.

Later on, reading through these lists becomes the perfect place to start writing. What you are looking for is to remember as much detail as possible.  Detail is the gold dust of writing that gives your work life.

So begin now, start listing the most interesting moments in your life.  Try to write twenty lines. Often the most difficult lines to write are the most interesting ideas to develop.

What has to happen?

What has to happen? This is the prompt I use most often. It is not immediately obvious why this is such a great prompt. Let me explain.

At the beginning of your story, there will be a situation – either good or bad opportunity. So you just ask the question ‘What has to happen for my character to start the quest?’

Ask the question at each step of the character’s journey. Ask ‘What has to happen for my character to doubt the quest?’ and you will find the answers spring to your head.

And listen to your characters. They won’t react the way you expect them to react. When our boiler had a leak I called the plumber, but I know a couple of guys who would try to repair the boiler themselves (usually with very little success and causing untold grief and disappointment – it made a great story).

Now that is what had to happen!