Getting Past The Blank Page


We all know the feeling ... you sit down at your desk, a cup of coffee or tea (or something stronger) in hand, and a fresh page in front of you. Maybe you're just feeling the creative vibe today and have decided to sit down and write, or maybe the story that's been rolling around in your brain for a while now is ready to hit the page. The problem? The page is so very, very blank. The blinking of the cursor or the tapping of your pen on the desk is almost like the drums of war in your mind, leading you into a familiar and bewildering battle: start the story.

This past week was our first Creative Writing Workshop at the Buena Vista Branch of the Burbank Public Library, and seeing as it was a new start for us as a group, we decided to tackle "Beginning a Story" as our prompt. And to take the edge off of that blank page fear, we went a little deeper with the prompt and gave everyone a first sentence to build a story off of. With 15 minutes to write, the stories that came out of these random first sentences were wonderful starts!

Below is the complete list of first sentences that we came up with. If you're feeling stuck and want to take the blank-ness out of the page, try one of these and see where it leads you!

Jomiah opened the door to find a stranger standing there with a woodpecker on his shoulder.

There were 75 ways into the silver city, but the only way out were The Trials.

Gasping for air, Melody wondered how she washed up on this shore.

The woman in the hooded robe shut the library door, sealing it and the knowledge within like a tomb.

Harrison finally mustered the courage to open the dark trunk in the darkest corner of the attic.

Artfred as he watched a squirrel deliver him a latte and marveled at this new ability to speak to animals.

The Order of the Second Sight was not, as founder Adam Pentetude hoped, a secret bastion for the world’s top magicians.

In the undeveloped frontier of the Mars colony Montana, weird events were an almost daily occurrence.

Shirley woke up with the sudden realization that everyone in her Experimental Biochemistry class was looking at her.

The small computer monitor blinked to life, 50 years to the day after the Nakatomi Research Facility had supposedly completed its last mission.

There was something odd in the suit pocket that Marv Dardleby just picked up from the tailor.

That cloudy day in April, illuminated by fire, was still fresh in Andrea Silvertongue’s mind.

Darren turned the trophy over in his hand with pride, only to find that ratfink Joey Bullface’s name etched on its front.

Seventy years of grime coated the old typewriter’s keys, but a weathered half-typed page still lay in its carriage.

“It’s not an impulse buy, Martha, it’s a freaking dog.”

Clive had spent his entire career poring over Viking sagas, but the story etched on the stone had never appeared in any of them.

Brenda’s to-do list was four miles long and she had just four hours before the event, so she really didn’t have time for this broken ankle.

Devon paced the warehouse, circling the shipment, wondering what the hell had gone wrong with the supplier.

Fourteen times the crazed orc swung his ax, but the Elfin Hope Spire refused to fall.

Lord Trennish of Barrelby Hall was the most eligible bachelor in Cumberland Heights, and Tippy Cupperton was going to do something about that.

The sucking sound of the tentacles beat on the hull of Hirscham’s boat like a metronome.

Kayla felt the hair on her arms rise as the group’s chanting approached its climax.

Veronica groaned as she ambled down the street, her ancient joints creaking in protest as if driven by an independent force.

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