Menu

Backward

We blog for a million different reasons, but in the end, we’re all storytellers. Creative Writing Challenges are here to…

We blog for a million different reasons, but in the end, we’re all storytellers. Creative Writing Challenges are here to help you push your writing boundaries and explore new ideas, subjects, and writing styles.

To participate, tag your post with DPchallenge and include a link to this post, to generate a pingback and help others find the challenges. Please make sure your post has been specifically written in response to this challenge. We’ll highlight some of our favorites on Freshly Pressed on Friday, and in our monthly newsletter.

Be kind, don’t rewind

We’re taught to think that a well-told story — fictional or not — starts with A, goes on to B, and ends with Z. We automatically follow the rule established by the King of Hearts in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:

The White Rabbit put on his spectacles. ‘Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?’ he asked.

‘Begin at the beginning,’ the King said gravely, ‘and go on till you come to the end: then stop.’

(Louis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)

For this Writing Challenge, we’re asking you to disobey the King.

Sure — logical, clean order has its virtues. So does a bit of chaos, though (every once in a while). Instead of starting at your story’s Big Bang, drop us off right at the End of Time: the final line of a conversation, the last, dramatic moment of a journey, the messy aftermath of a wild night out. Then, devote the rest of your post to showing us how you got there.

True, you won’t surprise us — at least not in the traditional sense. This is an exercise in control: the pace in which you reveal important information, the richness of the details you provide and that keep us engaged. Your readers’ pleasure will depend on these qualities, not on the (cheap?) thrill of finding out what actually happens in the end.

You can start at the end, and then lead us straight back to a traditionally ordered sequence of events (it worked for Citizen Kane). Or you can give us the full Memento treatment and take us backward one step at a time to the very origin of your story. Whatever works: just hook your readers with a powerful conclusion (that comes first!), and then captivate them with the story of how it came to pass.

Are you burning with desire to start writing? Go for it! Still in need of some ideas? How about one of the following:

  • Show us a picture and tell us the story of how it became possible to take it.
  • Share a major life decision you’ve taken, and then walk us through the decision-making process.
  • Tell us how you’ve lost, broken, or destroyed an object that was meaningful to you, then describe how it obtained its significance.
  • Describe a dramatic confrontation you witnessed (or in which you took part), then lead us through the signs that should have told you it was inevitable.

You may also enjoy:

Show Comments

135 Comments

Close Comments

Join the conversation!

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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

Comments

  1. Is Friday night too late to be considered for freshly pressed for the week? I’ve been working on a special post all week but since I haven’t quit my day job, it still isn’t ready. I wish there were a way to answer a challenge on the weekend for the oh-so-coveted Freshly Pressed experience! Thanks–

    Like

    1. Hi Joan!

      There isn’t a fixed deadline to be considered for Freshly Pressed. However, if any posts do get featured (which isn’t always the case), it’s on Friday (during daytime in North America), so Friday nights would usually be too late.

      That shouldn’t discourage you from participating, though – the best thing about these challenges is getting involved with the community and making your writing visible to others, who can then give you valuable feedback.

      Finally, our photo challenges are published on Fridays, so those are great for people who don’t have the time during the week.

      Like

      1. Thanks, Ben. Yes, I have been participating (since I started blogging in March) and have made many new friends. I enjoy the interaction. I have started many daily posts and never finished them when the day passed! I find I can later use the ideas in new way, so its never time wasted, but was just really hoping to get this one in for Friday morning. I think I will go ahead and post it without the corrected text boxes I was holding out to do tonight. I appreciate your prompt reply, have a great weekend!

        Like

  2. I am new to WordPress and the DPChallenge.
    How does this work, will somebody read all the posts and pick up a few that are exceptional?Do we get to see the best picked posts listed somewhere? I apologize if this is not the right place to post my question.

    Like

    1. Welcome, confusedhumanity!

      The posts are here for any member of the community to read, comment on, share, and enjoy.

      Throughout the week, members of the WordPress.com team read through the entries, and, towards the end of the week, we often select a few to be featured on Freshly Pressed, and you can find them there (tagged with #DPchallenge).

      I wouldn’t call featured posts ‘the best;’ they’re just posts that particularly resonated with us and with the challenge’s topic.

      Like

  3. I am a newbie in this blogging world also. My whole blog experiment is a backward story…dissecting and examining my creative life through the random, peculiar world of my diaries!! Obviously, from my perspective, I am progressing forward through time, but anyone who reads the blog starts with where it presently is (which I guarantee you will become more and more interesting as I move into my 20’s!!! My BIG beginning, or punch line, will change with every post .) This challenge really makes me wonder where I will actually choose to end my blog!

    Loving WordPress as a ‘live’ way to catalogue my poems and pictures.

    Like

104 Responses While this challenge is closed to new entries, we encourage you to visit the Reader to find other avid bloggers.