Starting with The Sense of an Ending

sense of an endingI remember, in no particular order:

–       a shiny inner wrist;

–       steam rising from a wet sink as a hot frying pan is laughingly tossed into it;

–       gouts of sperm circling in a plughole, before being sluiced down the full length of a tall house;

–       a river rushing nonsensically upstream, its wave and wash lit by half a dozen chasing torchbeams;

–       another river, broad and grey, the direction of its flow disguised by a stiff wind exciting the surface;

–       bathwater long gone cold behind a locked door.

This last isn’t something I actually saw, but what you end up remembering isn’t always the same as what you have witnessed.

That’s the first 500ish words of Julian Barnes’ novel, The Sense of an Ending. Here’s a couple of writing prompts based on those lines.

1. Start by writing Barnes’ opening sentence.

Then write six statements based on your own life (or the fictional life of your character). Consider Barnes’ choices as you make your own. They are detailed. They hint, but don’t explain. There’s a lot of movement. There is a lot of water, even possibly in the first one, suggested by the adjective ‘shiny.’

Once you’ve written six statements, pick only one or maybe two that you like and get rid of the rest. Now write more statements. Keep writing and editing and writing more until you feel you have something intriguing on the page.


2. Start by writing the last sentence. Begin a story in the first person where what the character remembers happening, proves not to be what happened at all.


We’d love to see what you come up with! In the meantime, here’s a link to my review on Goodreads.

This entry was posted in craft, literature prompt, sentence/story starters, writing from life, writing prompts and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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