Last call! Writing Challenge: Write the Opening Sentence to a Story Based on This Photo

To anyone not currently wandering the halls of Book Expo America in New York, loaded down with so many books you wish you’d brought a wheelbarrow (my favorite part of the event): How about a writing challenge?

Basically, in every issue of Writer’s Digest we give our readers a chance to get  published in the magazine by responding to a writing prompt. Here’s the latest, from our May/June 2013 issue:


In 25 words or fewer, write the opening sentence to a story based on this photo:


Your Story #50


Want in? Post your entry in the Comments section below, and it’ll automatically be entered in the competition.

The rules:

  • Your sentence (just one, only one!) must be 25 words or fewer, no exceptions.
  • The deadline is June 3, 2013.
  • One entry per person, please.
  • How it all works: We’ll select the top 10 entries and post them on our forum. In mid-June, readers will vote for their favorites to help rank the winners.
  • This is a free writing competition. The prize is publication in WD.
  • You can also submit your sentence via the form here.
  • Finally, as we say about this contest in the magazine: “You can be funny, poignant, witty, etc. It is, after all, your story.”

Good luck! And, of course, happy Friday.

Zachary Petit is the senior managing editor of Writer’s Digest magazine. 
He finally caved in and joined Twitter, and is now hopelessly distracted: @ZacharyPetit. 



Need some help surviving and thriving in the writing life? Check out James Scott Bell’s The Art of War for Writers

Successfully starting and finishing a publishable novel can be like fighting a series of battles—against the page, against one’s own self-doubt, against rebellious characters, etc. Featuring timeless, innovative, and concise writing strategies and focused exercises, this book is the ultimate battle plan and more—it’s Sun Tzu’sThe Art of War for novelists.


You might also like:

136 thoughts on “Last call! Writing Challenge: Write the Opening Sentence to a Story Based on This Photo

  1. Amyithist

    As he stood in front of the window, watching the airline jet lifting into the clear blue sky, Richard knew he was too late; and he knew this meant only one thing: His life was over.

  2. GypsySue

    As he stood watching, a single tear ran down his smooth shaven face and said, ” It’s only for a week, enjoy it while you can…” with a grim smile, he walked away.

  3. jheath

    I know I’m late, but c’mon–the limit is 25 words, folks. The requirement isn’t 25 words. Here’s what I’d do.

    Damn it.

    Plain and simple.

  4. rthomasriley

    The mystery wasn’t the reappearance of Flight 127; the mystery was where had it been for the past fifteen years, and was anyone still alive?

    1. Breezybealle

      Crap, that’s not the sentence I meant to actually submit! I hit the POST COMMENT button before I edited it!! This is what I I finally came up with:

      The briefcase in his hand was not as heavy as the weight upon his heart while he watched the plane slowly rise.

  5. Devin

    Magnus looked at the plane that would take him away from abuse, fear and self-loathing and hopefully land him in a place where he would learn to love and respect himself again.

  6. capriden

    Lionel watched as the plane descended. The white collar correctional facility had its perks, but flying commercial? Really? Suppose he missed his yoga class?

  7. baquri

    He watched helplessly, held immobile by the two aliens disguised as plants, who kept him from reaching the bomb override button in his briefcase.

  8. helene2013

    The apocalypse upon them, Steven watched with sad relief as the plane took off with his family on board, hoping they would survive the chaos.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.