Last call! Write the best story opening based on this prompt for a chance to be featured in Writer's Digest

What do you see in this photo?

We’re going to be closing up shop on the Your Story special prompt contest Friday—if you haven’t submitted a story opening yet, we’d still love to check yours out. Soon our editors will be choosing 10 of the best openings to print in a special issue of Writer’s Digest magazine.

Check out the original post here for more details (word limit, how to enter, and so on). Also, visit the Comments section of that post to see all the diverse ways other writers have tackled the opening.

Good luck! A regular Wednesday prompt—based on something WD online community editor Brian A. Klems and I witnessed yesterday—follows below.

* * *


free to take the following prompt home or post your
response (500
words or fewer, funny, sad or stirring) in the Comments section below. By posting, you’ll be automatically entered in our
occasional around-the-office swag drawings.
If you’re having trouble with the
captcha code sticking, e-mail it to me at, with “Promptly” in the subject line, and I’ll
make sure it gets up.

A man turns to his left and punches the driver in the face, and the two begin fist fighting—in a car, on the road. Write the conversation that led to the altercation. 


The Top 101 Websites for Writers. An entire feature package on genres, from romance to YA to blended forms. An interview with Bird by Bird scribe Anne Lamott. How to write from anywhere. Click
here to check the May/June 2010 issue of WD out!

Update: For the special Big 10 Prompt, it will only be WD editors selecting the finalists.

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One thought on “Last call! Write the best story opening based on this prompt for a chance to be featured in Writer's Digest

  1. Mark James

    If the archangel Michael and the archangel Lucifer wanted to spend quality time together, this is how I think it would go . . .

    Play Date

    Fire rained down from the sky. Nobody looked up, as if they could blind themselves into denial.

    “Ready?” Michael said.

    “Good distraction.” Lucifer pulled his ski mask over his face.

    “Wait till the buildings burn, then we go,” Michael said.

    From the alley behind the store, Lucifer watched people running, covering their heads, screaming. “What would angels need gold for?”

    “Turn around,” Michael said.

    The horned angel spun away, heard the brick wall behind him shatter.

    “Let’s go,” Michael said. “Two minutes. Shoot anything that moves. Dead. Bullets count.”

    He went in before Lucifer, drew his sword from the sheath across his back. It looked like flame wrapped around steel.

    A security guard shot at Michael. Lucifer took him out; one bullet through his heart. Wasted another guard who came running from the back. Shot out his knee caps, then blew the top of his head off.

    A vampire came at them, fangs bared. Michael sliced him in half. “Good one,” he said.

    As Michael drew symbols in the air over the bullet proof glass display cases, Lucifer stood with his back to him, gun drawn.

    Spider cracks grew in from the edges of the glass. “Get the gold,” Michael said.

    Lucifer smashed his hands through, and grabbed all the jewelry he could snatch. No matter how much he stuffed into the leather bag Michael had given him, it didn’t get full.

    “Time,” Michael said. “Out.”

    They walked backwards, Michael behind Lucifer, sword and gun ready to take on any attacker.


    Outside, Michael said, “We need a hostage.”

    “What for?”

    “Robbers always have one.”

    “You can have me,” Raphael said from behind them.

    Michael looked at his brother. “What kind of hostage are you? We can’t even touch you.”

    “A safe one,” Raphael said. “In the getaway car. Come on.”

    Lucifer drove. Michael rode shotgun.

    “You could have made more fire rain down,” Lucifer said.

    Michael rolled his eyes. “You could have got more gold.”

    “You didn’t have to kick through the wall,” Lucifer said, “we could have used dynamite.”

    The road in front of them was changing slowly from darkness to the raw red of a setting sun.

    “If you fight on the road out of Hell, we may never make it to Earth,” Raphael said.

    “And what would we need gold for?” Lucifer said. “You never told me.”

    “For my armor, what else?”

    “That’s foolish,” Lucifer said. “It never tarnishes.”

    Michael turned to his left, punched his brother in the face.

    Lucifer abandoned the steering wheel and slammed his fist into his brother’s cheek.

    In far less than the blink of an eye, they were brawling in the front seat, shouting about the Earth & Mortals game they’d played.

    Raphael focused on the road, kept the car steady around the curves, and let his brothers do what they enjoyed most.

    He wouldn’t have admitted it to Michael or Lucifer, but if he’d been forced to make a confession, he would have said that it had been a good visit to Hell.