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. Sarah

    Here are three for you guys. ;)
    Okay, this is odd,” I thought as I woke up.
    At exactly 4:00 pm, the world will end as we all know it.
    I showed no fear as the doors closed around me.

    Reply
  2. The flight attendent's favorite nephew's girlfriend

    I’m one of those people who doesn’t think about how much he likes someone. I’ve never said to myself, “I really like her” or “I don’t really like him”. Perhaps I was made wrong, or dropped on my head when I was a kid because I think in terms of, “I hate her far less than I hate him” and “Well she’s nearly tolerable”. Knowing this, I wasn’t sure who was more surprised when I blurted out, “This is why I love you” as the zombie on the movie screen was ripped to shreds. Although, you must have been pretty darn surprised because you choked to death on the gumball you inhaled on the spot. You’d think that’d be the end of the start, right? Since you’re dead and all. Well, if you’re thinking that, you’re wrong. That was only the very beginning of this chaos. Let’s just say Casper isn’t as friendly as Hollywood would like you to believe.

    Reply
  3. Me's friend's friend's sister's flight attendent

    I know you’re supposed to start these lovey dovey stories with “once upon a time”, but I’ve never been really good at these things. Besides it’s not once upon a time. It’s today, just a few seconds ago actually, that I met the love of my life…

    Reply
  4. Me's friend's friend's sister's flight attendent

    You know that feeling you have when you want to say something that you shouldn’t say? That feeling that makes you bite your tongue and swallow that particularly clever insult on the tip of your tongue? Yeah, well, I seem to have been born without that feeling so when Teddy walks in I don’t hesitate to tell him he looks like he’d been sleeping in a hamper. That’s how it all started, by the way. An ill-timed insult, a black eye, and a new best friend.

    Reply
  5. Me's friend's friend's sister

    He’s a contradiction with his hair like fire and his eyes like ice; no soul, but has perhaps one of the biggest hearts I know. And though he hasn’t said a single word in his life, his words will shape my future. My entire world changed from the letters he wrote.

    Reply
  6. Me's friend

    He shouldn’t be doing that. Now, there’s a million other things I could be looking at as I walk through the door. Yet, my eyes immediately narrow in on him and all I can do is think, he REALLY shouldn’t be doing that.

    Reply
  7. Me

    I couldn’t help thinking that it was never going to fit.
    Yikes, now that I reread that and remember that this is a book for teenagers, perhaps I should rephrase that… Well, I guess that tells you a little bit about me; I don’t often think about what I say and, in the end, that was what made all the difference.

    Reply
  8. GhostlyPhantom

    Heres what I have:
    ‘Red maples haunted the shrine’s wellworn path, almost intimidating if it wasn’t for the dappling of sunlight through the branches.’ ~mine
    ‘Why is it that everything looks so much creepier at night?’ ~again mine
    ‘An applecheeked boy stood on his tiptoes in front of the hotel bathroom’s mirror.’ ~ mine X3

    Reply
  9. dftba

    “It was a dark and stormy night. Scratch that. It was a dark and mildly drizzling night. I guess the truth just doesn’t have the same ring to it.”
    -just got started on this

    Reply
  10. werewolfcat5

    It was full moon tonight and there was something lying on the ground,injured and bleeding badly.It’s not a story,though,just a first line.

    Reply