In this month’s Writer’s Digest, there’s a short article by Judy Budnitz that talks about an exercise writers can use to deal with the blank page. The method is to write 10 or 20 first sentences.
I gave it a try on the train ride home this evening. I only came up with five sentences. (You can read the sentences, and cast your vote for your favorite, in the poll below.)
This was a good exercise for me. I realized that I hesitate to put words on the page without over-thinking them. This exercise freed me up a bit. It also made me see how a story can go many, many different ways. Each person who reads the sentences above will likely imagine a completely different story. Just like I might write a completely different story. The exercise has also given me a new quest to find and take note of the great first sentences in whatever I read.
So, give it a try when you next face a blank page and are uncertain of what to write. Make that list of 10 or 20 or five sentences. You might just find one that takes you to the second and third sentence of something great.
Note: Poll is now closed.