As an offshoot from the thread on story openings, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to just write a bunch of story openings. First, a couple of hints on story openings: A good opening will often start in the middle of the action. To quote myself: Now the rules: Write a short (100-500 words) opening based on the situation that the person above you gives. Try to make it active; make something happen right away. In the spirit of the challenge, try to use new characters and settings, instead of simply recycling the ones you're already familiar with. Follow your opening by a suggestion for the next person's opening. To make this a bit of a challenge, don't post something that's easy to make active, or that's inherently interesting, like a car chase -- make it something a bit more mundane that will take some more work to make interesting Feel free to comment on other people's openings, but don't write a full review of it. It's a first draft of an exercise, and this isn't a review thread. Since I'm the first one here, I'll give myself a topic, and I'll choose it from the examples I gave above. My topic is going to be the woman whose credit card is declined in a fashion mall. To make it more interesting and challenging to myself, I'm going to write it in 1st person from the perspective of the woman: "I'm sorry, ma'am, it looks like your card is being declined." The cashier didn't break his annoyingly cheery facade. "Do you have another card you'd like to try?" My mouth went dry. I had found the perfect cerulean dress, on sale, and it was the last size four left. "C-can you try running it again?" "Of course." He swiped the card through the cash register again, the judgmental smile still plastered on his face. The register beeped loudly. "I'm terribly sorry, it's not working." My face grew hot as I clawed through my purse looking for something, anything that would let me walk out of that store with my head high and the dress in a fancy paper bag that screamed to the world that I was one of the elite. "I think I have another... no, it's not here. Dammit, where is it?" "There are other customers waiting, but we'll be glad to hold the dress for you for twenty-four hours." He handed the worthless chunk of plastic back to me. I needed that dress. "No, you don't understand... I have this important party... the dress... I need it tonight!" His expression hadn't changed at all, but it somehow looked so much more condescending. "We're open till six tonight. Can I help the next person in line?" What a jerk. As I turned away from the counter, I kept my eyes fixed on the floor so I wouldn't have to meet anyone's gaze. I stuffed the card as deep as I could in my purse without so much as glancing at it. I felt my eyes moisten, and the edges of my vision blurred. This was my last chance, and I had blown it. I ran out the side door and to my car as quickly as I could. I climbed into the driver's seat, slammed the door shut, and put my head down on the steering wheel, letting the tears flow freely in the dark. Topic for the next person: As a man sits in a chair, it breaks, and he falls to the floor.