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Writing Exercise (3/4/08)
*waves hello to all the writers out there*  I'm back with another writing exercise.

In his Fictional International essay "To Begin, To Begin," Clark Blaise writes: "The most interesting thing about a story is not its climax or denouement--- both dated terms--- nor even its style or characterization. It is its beginning, its first paragraph, often its first sentence.... the story seeks its beginning, the story many times is its beginning, amplified."

Opening a piece with "At least" is-- so the words would
suggest-- is to open in medias res, that is, in the middle
of the action. For example:

           At least she had a desk. Or:

           At least the cake was white. Or:

           At least they approved of the groom's gerbil.


How many opening sentences, all beginning with "At least" can you come up with in five minutes?

Source:  http://www.cmmayo.com/d5mwearchives.april.html

If you'd like to share some exercises or prompts of your own, feel free to comment on this post.  Or if you write something in response to this exercise and want to share it, comment or send me a link.  I would, of course, love to see what you wrote.  But you're not obligated to share.  In other words, do whatever you want with this.  I just hope it proves useful for someone.   If you'd like to see the previous exercises I've posted, just click on the tag below.  Happy writing!

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At least she’d left him his socks, Booth thought with a resigned sigh.
At least Hodgins had found his scorpion; wait, what the hell was that?
At least she’d remembered to put on her good underwear that morning.
At least he’d made it to first base.
At least he still had one bullet left.
At least it was late, so there weren’t too many squints left to witness his humiliation.
At least she hadn’t tried to kick his ass--much.
At least she still had her bones.

Edited at 2008-03-04 09:39 pm (UTC)

At least two more people were required for this experiment to work; and by virtue of being the only others present, Zack and Hodgins had inadvertently volunteered themselves for the job.

At least she didn't have to explain herself this time; one look at her face and she knew Angela would understand.

At least two full minutes had passed before she worked up the courage to look Booth in the eye.

At least she knew she'd been right all along; she could take comfort in that if nothing else.

And... my time's up. Not sure how well any of these would work as the start of something, but I quite like the idea of launching in to something in the middle of the action... *goes off to ponder some more*

I really needed that. Got a case of writer's cramp (don't like to call it block exactly) tonight.


*hugs you back* Have a cookie; it might help with the cramp. If it doesn't, well, at least you had something tasty! *g* You could also try listening to some music, though you may have tried that already. Regardless, don't fret. You're a writer; writing will always come back to you. :)

BTW, if you click on the tag for this entry, you'll see a couple older posts that also contain various exercises/prompts. Maybe they'll shake something loose.

Edited at 2008-03-04 10:32 pm (UTC)

Thank you, I might do that :)

And for the wise words.


At least his son had managed to get some of his Extra-Curly jumbo fries in his mouth, although one was currently on an disturbing successful undercover mission in his tousled blond hair.

At least the room had stopped spinning for the time being; granted, it wouldn't last long, but he was determined to be grateful for small miracles.

At least he'd made it to the right delivery room.

At least Caroline had said the kidnapping charges wouldn't stick; how was he to know that his neighbor had called the cops after his partner had been a tad vocal during handcuff-oriented foreplay?

Thanks for the challenge!
*goes back to do proper writing*

Placebo's cover of "Running up that Hill" is one of my ALL TIME favorite songs. It sounds so gorgeous. Also, there's a pretty good Peter/Elle vid to it if you watch Heroes...

I agree -- Placebo's cover is beautiful. :)

I watched most of the first season of Heroes when it aired, but then my DH and I moved, were without cable for a week or two, and just never got caught up. So I know Elle is the Kristen Bell character, but that's about it.

At least this time she wouldn't have to leave bits of her soul behind when she walked out the door.

At least he stopped laughing long enough to suck in a few gasps of air before starting up again.

At least the puppy was happy to see her.

At least there was one other person in the world that could understand how she felt that day.

At least he was alive.

(which, of course, leads to...)

At least he was dead.

[raises hand.] I'll play!

At least Goodman knew when he could push Brennan to act, or just stand back and wait. Bancroft, on the other hand, didn't know Brennan at all.

At least, Cam told herself, she and Booth would always feel a sense of connection.

At least Hodgins and Angela were able to talk about Hodgins' experience having been buried alive. Brennan, for her part, never discussed the issue with Booth until it was almost too late.

At least Zach was able to ask Naomi in Paleontology to partner with him for Halloween. It was getting her to partner with him afterwards.

How'd I do? Okay, yes? Yes? [is anxious...]

Thanks for playing. :)

How'd I do? Okay, yes? Yes? [is anxious...]

*hugs you* You did great. Don't be anxious. This isn't a test. It's just play. :)

Edited at 2008-03-05 09:37 pm (UTC)

At least he could go home with the knowledge that she would still be alive tomorrow.
At least they hadn't found her haven; at least she could go there to forget about everything.
At least they had each other.
At least Parker could have one more ride on the carousel.
At least the flashlight still worked...

and I'm done. Ehh, I usually tweak and change all of my writing (perfectionist? maybe) so I'm really trying to restrain myself from changing these. :/

Don't change them--at least not here. This is just an exercise. :)

ok so i used your exercise but i broke the rules ops I wrote a drabble not several sentances but let me explain: i haven't felt like writing much lately and nothing has inspired me but the second i read this i knew exactly what i wanted to write and i literally wrote it as soon as i read this post, anyway i know its probably not good but it's the first i've had the nerve to post on lj so be nice *g*.

At least no one knew that she was crying. She smiled bitterly to herself, leave it to her to think of that as the silver lining. She had tried her best to be nonchalant about it telling the rest of the team she didn't do gifts and acting as though it didn't really matter to her. She even argued with Booth over the actual meaning of Christmas, but the truth was as she watched her team visit with their families she died a little more inside. Even Hodgins had someone to come see him But No one was coming for her, not her parents, not Russ, not anyone. She was completely alone and although she always knew that, being stuck here in the lab with her team and Booth for Christmas, made her realize more then ever how true it was.

At least his Army buddies would never, ever know about this.
At least she still had her hands.
At least she couldn't read his thoughts right now - or he didn't think so, anyway.
At least there were no interruptions this time.

Say, that was fun! :o)

bones sentences..

At least he hadn't gotten himself shot again.

At least Angela wasn't around to see it, she doubted her hangover could handle the squealing.

At least this time there was no mistletoe involved.

At least she had her toothbrush.

At least they'd gotten through their latest encounter with the gravedigger without ending up buried alive again.

sga sentences

At least they could always use the aliens as an excuse.

At least they'd finally been able to find a piece of technology that wouldn't endanger anyone.

At least nothing had blown up in the past hour.

browsing back several days because i dont have a computer right now; this entry made me think of one of the kathy reichs books that i just started yesterday, 'bare bones'. the opening sentence is:

"As I was packaging what remained of the dead baby, the man I would kill was burning pavement north to Charlotte."

now hows THAT for attention getting??

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