X years

What Came Before



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Have you ever considered, dear writers, how the succession of life’s events and experiences can lead up to a single moment? The short story by the Bulgarian writer Miroslav Penkov begins with just this frame, thirty years of the narrator’s life leading him to a question of utmost importance:
                       
“It takes me thirty years, and the loss of those I love, to finally arrive in Beograd. Now I’m pacing the outside of my cousin’s apartment, flowers in one hand and a bar of chocolate in the other, rehearsing the simple question I want to ask her. A moment ago, a Serbian cabdriver spat on me and I take time to wipe the spot on my shirt. I count to eleven.
            “Vera, I repeat once more in my head, will you marry me?
 
This week, begin your own story with a similar frame, summarizing what has happened over the course of months or years to lead your character to a moment of consequence. 

Need some more examples? In these excellent beginnings, casualti.es frames her story around two months, while hannahschones uses the building blocks of minutes.