Short Story endings

One of the lecturers I have this year often starts her lecture with a writing exercise. It is a creative writing class in prose fiction after all, so this is entirely appropriate. Rosanne uses a variety of approaches, each writing exercise is stimulating. It is also very good writing practice under pressure. I love these exercises, and I have become keen at sharing my writing later during the workshop session after the lecture.

Last week Rosanne wrote a sentence on the whiteboard. She then challenged us to write for about five minutes – ending our piece with that sentence. Here are some interesting (I hope) and challenging (I hope) story endings.  Use them in whatever way you like. Try them as warm up activities for your current writing project.

  1. Which one will I poison first?
  2. That is how the school burnt down.
  3. I will never go there again.
  4. That is the last time I ever saw her.
  5. It still amazes me that I lived to tell this tale
  6. I never expected to hear from him again.
  7. The precious key slipped from her hand, bounced once and disappeared over the edge of the jetty.
  8. Just when I’d given up all hope, the phone rang.
  9. Sometimes life is stranger than fiction.
  10. I was left staring at the solid door that had just been slammed in my face.

It was the first one we were challenged with. Here is what I wrote. Remember that we only had five minutes. This left little time for story or character development and none for rewriting.

Tuesday started like any other day: shower, breakfast, cuppa, paper, crossword and then don’t forget the teeth. All was going well, on schedule, according to plan, just like any other Tuesday.


Until my brother-in-law came to stay with his tribe of brats. All seven. Four boys and three girls plus two over active Jack Russells who always decided to wait until getting here to relieve themselves – on the new carpet.

‘I’ve left Susanna,’ he announced matter-of-factly. ‘Nowhere else to go. So I’ll have to move in with you. I’ll use the spare room shall I?’

I stared in disbelief. This was the fifth time it had happened. I couldn’t stand my brother-in-law. The Brat Pack was uncontrollable. The Jack Russells beyond control.

‘Which one will I poison first?’ was my immediate thought.

Have a go – let me know in the comments how it went.

Good writing.