Closing Lines Challenge.

On days like today, when I’m used to having a RoW80 check-in and I can’t otherwise think of anything to write about, I go trolling around the Intrawebz to find inspiring, humorous, or thought-inducing quotes from other authors. In this foraging, I came across a quote that I remember approaching at one point and trying to fit my writing to. I didn’t get very far with that method, though I still have a line that I suspect will be the final line to the entire Aryneth series, and, today, coming across the quote inspired a new idea in me. The quote? From Joseph Heller, author of Catch-22:

“I can’t start writing until I have a closing line.”

Now, it’s definitely an interesting, though perhaps not unusual, approach to start with the end game and work your story to fit around achieving that final line. I’ve always wondered how much that closing line changes for Heller, or any other author who might take advantage of this approach. And it makes sense. People build a story up from a starting line or a prompt, just as well.

As a matter of fact, most writing challenges seem to build themselves up based on a prompt from an opening line or a photograph. Wouldn’t it be fun, then, I thought to myself this morning, to start up a challenge where the goal is to build up a short story with the closing line as the prompt?

Naturally, the next step was to blog about it, and then open the challenge up. So I proudly introduce to you my Weekly Closing Lines Challenge. Since RoW80 will start up again soon, I’ll likely do this every Tuesday if people are interesting and it’s garnering some responses. If anything, I know I’ll be challenging myself to write a story based on the closing line. I’d also love to have my readers field potential closing lines to use for a challenge, too. If you are so inspired, either by the prompt line or to offer your own prompt line, please share! Who knows what we might create?

And so, for now, to be followed up on next Tuesday, I present to you my first Closing Line Prompt:

Though she knew she shouldn’t, she turned her head and looked back.

Have at it! Please share your thoughts, results, or suggested prompts here or in your own blog. Can’t wait to see if anyone comes up with anything!

Oh. And one more thing:

(God, I love you, Game of Thrones Intrawebz fanbase)


  1. Hmm. Interesting.
    Not sure what will be in the pool for ROW80 – have a WIP to get edited, writing blogs to follow, a Flash Fiction for every Tuesday, and a balance of fiction and non-fiction to manage.
    But maybe this would be nice to add.

  2. Cool idea! I’d have to write three, if I followed his advice, though. My story has 3 character views. George RR Martin would have a really hard time! hahaha

  3. […] Last week, I came up with an idea for a writing prompt/challenge based on one of my favorite quotes from Joseph Heller: “I can’t start writing until I have a closing line.” The challenge is simple, really. Every Tuesday, I’ll post a different prompt. Instead of it being meant to inspire you or be used as an opening line, it is intended to be the closing line of the story. I think it’s a really interesting twist on the traditional prompt, and gives us a chance to try to build something out of how it’s going to end, rather than starting something out and seeing where it ends up. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s