July 11, 2011

Writing Prompt: Opening Sentences

Posted by at 1:15 am in Writing Prompt | Permalink

Writingprompt_bookWriting Prompt: Opening Sentences

"It was a dark and stormy night."

The classic first line of a good book. (Which also happens to be the first line of Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time.) It can make or break your impression of a book. Will it be love at first sight? Or will it end up under your bed living with dust bunnies and used Kleenex? Is it going to be an adventure? Tragedy? Hilarious diary? You can tell a lot about a book by its first line.

For example, the line "When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold." What book is this you may wonder? Elementary, my dear Watson, it's the first line of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games (for ages 12 and up).

Or how about "Two men appeared out of nowhere, a few yards apart in the narrow, moonlit lane." None other than the first line from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Try "First of all, let me get something straight: This is a JOURNAL, not a diary." This is from the one and only. . . Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

This one I also like, "The sky was the color of cat vomit." Can you guess? It's Scott Westerfeld's first line from Uglies (for ages 12 and up).

I could go on and on, but I'd rather hear from you guys! For today's Writing Prompt, if you were writing a book, what would your opening line be? Be as crazy as you want to be. You never know – all you budding writers could say you wrote it here first! Leave your First Line in the Comments below!

—Ratha, Stacks Writer

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  1. brainstorm5

    my topic sentence will be :it was a dark gloomy night i was laying in my bed trying to go to sleep when all of the sudden BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! lightning flashing before my eyes thunder crashing furiously beyond the tree branches by this time my heart was pounding hard now i got up to use the bathroom but i was startled by another BOOM! It’s called Thundering Night

  2. yellowglow

    I’m not sure if this is an interesting first sentence, but I’ll just post it anyway.
    The lightning flashed wildly, thunders furiously roared, and the rain was bitterly mourning.
    It’s from a story I’m writing. The Stradivarius Conspiracy.

  3. Amberwolf1

    I’ve written many things so here are a few…
    “‘Hmm…’ I shrugged and pocketed the strange coin, proceeding in counting and sorting a mound of money.”
    ~The Ancient Coin by me
    “Lesley shivered, gnawing on her knuckles out of fright as she trudged past the thirteen townhouses.”
    ~The 13 Townhouses by me
    “The slender shadow loomed in the distance, trampling through the brambles lining the ThunderPath.”
    ~Rusty and FlameClan, (my warriors fanfic)
    “The warm, crackling fire heated the Yulgar Inn as five boys sat around a burgundy shag rug, eager for a story.”
    ~No title but by me!

  4. redwolf248

    I love writing a lot. I’m practically the best writer in my class. But we didn’t write our own stories. They had to be expository and stuff. Or summaries.
    - The raft bobbed up and down to my doom.
    - I wake up finding myself not in the comfort of my own familiar bed, but in a hard, lumpy bed that like a stranger to me.
    - Whatever happens, I have to get out of here.
    - I actually breathing when I saw him.
    - What happened to me?
    - “Someone please help me,” I said faintly.
    - “Run!” Kathrine harshly whispered.
    - I had the most perfect life in the world without the need of riches, until HE came along.

  5. ninjadragon99

    “The dragon circled over Jenna’s head and began its slow decent into the forest clearing where she stood.”
    ~an un-named book I started
    “”But sir it is an emergency…” Harry paused, not sure if he should tell the story or not.”
    ~Joining Forces/Golden Circles, a fanfic :)

  6. redwolf248

    - “Is someone out there?”
    - This is the last day of my psychotic life.
    - This will land me in prison.
    - Whoever thought that my own best friend, was a killer?
    - I remember back in October, the most frightful night known to me now.

  7. paco.haley

    “I was always one to over-think things…”
    I’m a budding author, and I have this little notebook. Whenever I get an idea for anything (such as an opening line) I write it down there. That one is from my notebook, and so is this one:
    “It’s crazy how significant a name can become to a person. One day, you hear the name and pay no attention. But then the next day you’re heart aches when that same simple cluster of syllables enters your brain.”
    Okay, so that’s a bit long. But it’s an opening line(s) all the same, correct?

  8. ocean3126

    1. It was as sunny as it could be when i thought nothing could go wrong.
    2.DING DING the clock striked 4:00.

  9. whirlwindblue2

    I’m writing a book, and this is one of my opening lines:
    “Terror swells in me, my heart pounding, as I run after the bus that holds my best friend.”

  10. Marytonga

    “Um… Hi.”
    “I didn’t mean to fall in the well.”
    “Mercedes had always known she was strange- nobody else saw fairies in the bushes, remembered things they hadn’t done, people they hadn’t met.”

  11. Robyn

    ‘Saturday afternoon, at four fourteen,Qwen was sitting behind the passenger’s seat in a State Police car, drinking a small vanilla milkshake.’
    There you go! I am rewriting this one.

  12. madgrrl

    The first line of my (next) book would be, “My best friend’s favorite hobby killed her.” Okay, I’m just kidding. At this point of time, I can’t really think of anything. Then again, I might actually use that one…

  13. percy and harry fan

    The phrase, “It was a dark and stormy night” can become redundant and cliche. As a result of, readers may get annoyed with the platitude and just put down the book. However, your point on the first line catching your attention is true. Like…
    “Everything is energy.” (Immortals, “Shadowland”)

  14. alywrites

    Since I love writing, and have written many things, I can post many:
    • “I’m running, screaming, crying—trying.”
    • “I HAD KNOWN EMRYS since he was nine (and I was six).”
    • “Kathy took a swing at me.”
    • ” “KATITA?” ”
    • “I was nervous when I first convinced myself of this.”
    • “The nights are usually this quiet.”

  15. oOKianaOo

    Okay, this is a random first line I made up that is not from a story, and it’s not a story I’m writing either.
    Everyone looked up at the dim orange sky infested with dark maroon sweet potatoes. “Red Potatoes” by Anonymous XD