One of the better exercises I run during my workshops is also one of the simplest: I give participants a list of final lines from stories already published. Participants pick one and use it as the opening line of a new work. Once the story is completed, simply delete the (un-original) opening line and voila, complete story!

It often prompts participants to ask which of my own closing lines I would use, or which is my favourite. So here’s a list of five of my favourite closing lines. do the exercise yourself. See what you come up with. Then show me: I’d love to see where it takes you.


Five for Friday: Closing Lines.


Leaving the sounds of the living world behind, Marius the King descended into his Kingdom.

Marching Dead, Angry Robot Books.


I began crying when the first bombs fell.

Silk, All-Star Zeppelin Adventure Stories


We entered without looking, and closed off the past.

Father Muerte and the Joy of Warfare, Aurealis 37


We marched out, and he led us, singing, back home through the ashes of our dead.

Europe After the Rain, After The Rain


They laughed, until the only sound in the entire world was the pounding of waves in his ears.

Disciple of the Torrent, Tales of Australia: Great Southern Land



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