25 May

First Lines

Last week, I started writing down some “first lines” — initial sentences to stories that don’t yet exist. It was an exercise in attention-getting and tone. Here are a few I came up with:

  • Well, I’m finally eating bananas again.
  • When Will walked up the gangway to the ship that night, he thought he heard a voice from the misty shores behind him whisper, “Don’t go.”
  • I like to take walks through my neighborhood on cool May nights when the air is damp and bug-free and smells of flowers; I peer in through the open windows of well-lit living rooms and take mental photographs of lives I could be leading.
  • By the time the dogs came, we were well-hidden under a rusty mower in a stand of overgrown brush.
  • That Dairy Queen bitch can bite my ass.

Then I took the exercise to my creative writing class and they came up with the following:

  • Not many preschoolers could count to 13 before I could, for I had three extra fingers when I was born.
  • I stood out on the front porch with a shotgun in my hands, waiting for that son of a bitch to come back.
  • The night me and Bobby found that turtle was the night I became a man.
  • Taking a deep drag on my cigarette, I looked the scrawny teen over: “What do you want kid?”
  • I couldn’t think of how to begin this story. We’ll, I guess now I did.
  • As the key clicked in the lock, the door swung open to reveal a dark shadow blocking the way into his apartment.
  • “If he asks, the spangles were not my idea,” Sara informed her sister, holding back giggles as she stared at the sparkling, feathered jumpsuit they had created for their brother Steven’s first ice show.
  • I put on my professional face and prepare myself for another boring middle-aged self-pitying hag whine endlessly about how miserable she is when, unexpectedly, I recieve a call.
  • “Yowch!” screamed Jack as he hobbled, grabbing his left buttock, towards the only light he could see through the flowing tears. “Not again!” he cried.
  • With sweaty hands twisting her sleeves, her eyes dart around the crowded airport, finally catching the sight of a clock. She screams.
  • I got punched in the face today, only this time I didn’t deserve it.

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