I have been trying to write this post all day. It’s just been one of those days.
Image by Adam J. Kurtz
For those just tuning in, I am hosting a writing challenge/contest and we have just finished the first round. Anyone can join in the next round, so read on.
First, thanks to the writers who took up the 50 First Lines Challenge (they wrote 50 first lines as fast as possible and submitted their favourite five). Our judges actually had their own challenge, and I had to bring in a tie-breaker to settle things.
Judges included a MG writer/educator, a spec fic publisher and sci fi writer, and an adult fiction writer, so we ran the gamut. One of them exclaimed, “These are so good! It was hard to pick.”
If you did not attempt this exercise, I highly recommend it and I’m sure any of our writers would say the same thing. It’s a fantastic way to inspire yourself.
Without further ado… the top First Lines picked are (in no particular order, mind you, that would have been chaos):
Nothing was tastier than brains, not that he could remember any other flavour.
(by Esther Jones)
Nobody wanted to claim the abandoned baby on the hill. (by 4AM Writer)
There’s no such thing as a good day in Antarctica. (By Annie Cardi)
If you destroy someone’s life, they’re yours forever. (By Annie Cardi)
I blame everything that happened on orange chicken. (By Char)
For each line our judges picked, you receive an entry into the prize drawing.
I think it’s interesting to notice that the top picks were all short and punchy. Perhaps that’s how readers like to be drawn into a story? It’s definitely something to think about.
Generally when I give this exercise to my students, the next stage is to pick 10 First Lines and write 10 First Paragraphs. You are welcome to do that, but I’m only going to ask you to do five. The five you entered, if you entered.
If you did NOT enter the first round, your job is to write 5 First Paragraphs using the WINNING First Lines above. ONLY SUBMIT YOUR TOP THREE.
I ask you to do five to complete the challenge and to give you some choice. But only submit 3 to the comment section. (you are more than welcome to link to the rest if you post them all on your blog)
Again, the idea is to write them fairly fast, not thinking too much, and go from one right to the next. This could be the start of a novel, a short story, or a piece of flash. It doesn’t matter. You can edit them afterwards all you want, just get the first drafts done fast. Maybe even set a timer for 15 – 20 minutes.
YOU HAVE UNTIL MONDAY March 5 AT MIDNIGHT PST
TO SUBMIT YOUR 3 FIRST PARAGRAPHS!
Here’s a few samples from my own pile:
Green, red, blue . . . what mattered the colour of his blood when his heart was a broken hinge? He lay his head back down on the institutional hospital pillow. The nurses didn’t know what to do with him. He had red blood spurting from a gash in his arm and green blood coming from his nose. He reached up and touched it. His nose. Where Karmen had punched him.
It was a perfect morning for picking mushrooms. Green and misty in that way that spring teases. If she could identify them, she’d pick them now. They had sprouted up overnight, literally overnight, on the median across from the bus stop. But she couldn’t tell the difference between the poisonous and nonpoisonous ones. Nor did she know how much of the poisonous ones to add into a tincture, so that it would be just this side of magic, and not lethal.
I was taking a short cut through the cemetery when I spotted it. Him. It. The limping coyote. I had always assumed it was a he. I hadn’t seen him in weeks and I was glad he was safe, although not glad it was almost dark and that I was alone. I shifted my grocery bag to my left arm. Was I supposed to make myself big or small in the face of a coyote? Run towards him, back away, play dead?