October 09, 2011

Write 50 new stories that begin with 50 Hemingway endings

When you see a list of endings from Hemingway stories, you can also see the even more intriguing beginnings of stories not yet written. Here are some from the 50 Hemingway endings over here, and don't forget to blog and link back to any stories you (or your students) come up with!

But they could not help his fear because he was up against an older magic now.

“We’ll have to go,” Nick said. “I can see we’ll have to go.”

Looking back from the mounting grade before the track curved into the hills he could see the firelight in the clearing.

Then he was dead.

When they fired the first volley he was sitting down in the water with his head on his knees.

A short time after he contracted gonorrhea from a sales girl in a loop department store while riding in a taxicab through Lincoln Park.

It was a good thing to have in reserve.

They all came just like that.

The little devil, he thought, I wonder if he lied to me.

The hold over himself relaxed, too, finally, and the next day it was very slack and he cried very easily at little things that were of no importance.

In the early morning on the lake sitting in the stern of the boat with his father rowing, he felt quite sure that he would never die.

I am not really a good bull fighter.

Now they would have the run home together.

He curled up under the blanket and went to sleep.

The priest skipped back onto the scaffolding just before the drop fell.


What happens next? The 50 Hemingway endings via my friend Matt, who runs a company that helps other companies build stories.


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I always plan stories from the end and work backwards.

My card-game Once Upon a Time has two decks of cards: Story Cards and Ending Cards. You use the former to create a story, building it to a state where you can read the sentence on your Ending card so it makes sense, and win. But every player has a different Ending, and can snatch control of the narrative to bend it towards their Ending instead.

Once Upon a Time is about fairy-tales and myths, so its endings are pretty simple and archetypal. But if you’re starting to compile a Propp-like list of endings, there are worse places to start.

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Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

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School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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