Go Write: Jump Starters

typewriterSometimes it’s hard to get started. This I know all too well, so I am always on the search for ways to kick-start my writing. I’ve found that taking an opening line and free-writing for about 15 minutes usually gives me enough forward motion to get into the story I need to be doing. The cool thing is sometimes those exercises turn into stories themselves.

With that in mind, here are some opening lines to help propel you into your story:

  • The cure for seven deadly diseases sat on the shelf in the room across the hall, and no one could do a damn thing about it.
  • I’ve never quite gotten over my fascination with Milton.
  • There are three perfect ways to die, and by the time she was 23, Sally had learned them all.
  •  I never should have given him the code.
  • Henry happened to be there when the tide pulled a jon-boat past the dock, its hull empty except for a cast net in the bottom, full of shrimp.
  • At some point, all parents have to lie.
  • In the woods behind the house, Mary and Janet found a magic hat.
  • Lord have mercy, the sermon lasted so long I forgot I was still mad at the preacher and shook his hand on the way out without meaning to.
  • Voicing an unpopular opinion on Twitter is to face judge, jury and executioner all at once.
  • No one could have predicted that three hours one afternoon would change the world.

Go write right now!


Go Write: Ghost Story


This photo was taken in 1865, according to a story on Glimpses of Charleston. It’s Rutledge Avenue at the corner of Tradd, which back then was waterfront. The torpedo boat in the foreground (visible because it was apparently low tide) was buried under the street when that area was landfilled. The street now looks like the photo below.


Write a story about the former captain of the boat who still haunts these streets and wanders the halls of the house (shown in the background of both photos), looking for his vessel.

Go write right now!


Go Write: The Alley

Photo by Anthony Watson

There’s a local myth about this alley. It’s been around since the 1700s, and word has it people have disappeared down it – 10 of them just since 1970, when a reporter started investigating it. He collected stories and anecdotes about the alley, but he disappeared before anything could be published. He walked down the alley every day. Everyone figures the alley got him too, possibly because it didn’t want its secrets revealed.

And it’s not just disappearances. There have been appearances too. One day as a woman walked through the alley, she looked into her purse to check for her keys. When she looked up, a man was in front of her.

“It scared me half to death,” she said. “I almost bumped into him.”

According to her report, the man was dressed in puffy trousers, buckle boots and a neckerchief. She thought he was playing a pirate in a theatre group. He asked her what year it was, and when she told him it was 2010, he swayed a bit and looked behind her. She turned around to see what he was looking at. When she turned back, he was gone.


You take the story from here. Set a timer and write for 10 minutes or take the entire concept into a bigger story.

Here are a few questions to get the creative juices flowing:

What happened to the people? Where did they go? What about the appearances? Could this be a time portal, where people shift from one time to another? Is it a true paranormal location or is a serial killer taking advantage of the myth?

How often do the appearances/disappearances happen? Is it random or on a schedule? If scheduled, write a scene where a couple of people or a group (adults, teens or kids – your choice) went there at the anticipated time?

Go write right now!