I always begin with a last sentence; then I work my way backwards, through the plot, to where the story should begin. – John Irving (source)
When I first read this, I was taken aback. I’ve often started a story with the idea of one important line. Sometimes it’s somewhere in the middle and often it’s a snippet of dialogue, but most of the time it’s the first line of a story. I haven’t ever started a story from the end. Sure, I’ve got an idea of the ending, but not the last sentence.
I’ve been making a conscious effort to keep a running list of short story ideas. The form doesn’t come easily to me, but the more I read and write I can see how they are helpful in building writing skills and learning how to tell stories. I’ve decided to begin with the ending sentence of the next one as a sort of writing experiment.
Where do you begin writing your stories?