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

  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.

  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.

  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…

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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

  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

  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.

  11. Danielsurfing

    “I could feel the night breeze, over my shoulders, as I watched the sunset go down.”

  12. eaglenegotiator3

    It was a dark and stormy night three men were in a cave and one said lets tell a story, it was a dark and stormy night three men were in a cave and one said lets tell a story.

  13. Lordofawesomeness

    The thought of dying is a horrible for kids my age.
    -Story of my life. (my own story)
    I could hear the wind wiping the flowers in the meadow, the air being used by the creatures creeping through the woods slowly and lightly making sure everyone and thing can have some, the birds hitting the wind with their soft, feathered wings making flight possible in the blue sky.
    -The wind Controller (My story too)
    A young brown wolf ran into a horrid scene; the burning of the grounds.
    - the wolf Wars (my story also)
    I woke up on a bag of trash, my dog next to me snoring.
    Serium -Chapter one (also mine)
    I was sitting at my desk in my room staring at a blank piece of lined paper.
    Peanut Butter (also mine)
    I had two seconds to get out.
    My MAx Ride Fan Fic
    I woke up in pain.
    Young Justice meets Girl Justice Meaghan’s POV (mine)

  14. redhorse20

    I have some! *clears throat*
    1. When you crash into a dark, mysterious alley, you don’t usually expect something good to happen.
    2. I apologize if the writing on the page is blurry, for as I write this I am crying.
    3. I feel like all my life I’ve been a lab rat.
    4. One day, my friend just randomly asked, “Do you wanna become famous?”
    5. My sister and I awoke at the same time to the sounds of crackling fire and sirens.
    The title I had for the first one was The Glitch, second, Smoke, third, Maturity, fourth, How to Become Famous in Three Days Stat, and the fifth doesn’t really have a title.

  15. soccerdog91

    oh some people don’t understand cause my mother is not laugh out loud a.k.a lol

  16. Lilyluna411

    I have many stories, all with random beginning lines :)
    1. Dank air floated through the corridors, the rancid scent choking their lungs as the small group of soldiers scurried towards the dungeons, breathing heavily.
    2. Thea’s hair hung low on her back, loosely restrained in a disorderly braid; her jade eyes reflecting the majestic emerald water as she pondered into its depths, slender feet swinging over the edge of a probing branch.

  17. Lordofawesomeness

    I stayed calm behind the wall as the large hutchmen walked by.
    young brown wolf ran into a horrid scene; the burning of the grounds.
    The Wolf Wars (My book)
    I had two seconds to get out. Only two seconds.
    Maximum Ride fan fiction
    That’s two sentences

  18. percyj99

    Try these on for size.
    “Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood.”
    “Five minutes before she died, Grace Cahill changed her will.”
    “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley ,of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”
    “You grow up with a kid but you never really notice him.”
    “Carter here.”
    P.S. Yeah, that last one isn’t much help…

  19. Bianca

    You could see the light in her eyes as he reached out to her with grasping hands. But the hands that reached did not hold. There was too much distance between them now. So much so that he could no longer penetrate the barrier that divided them. The light left her eyes and again she was left empty. A piece of her broken off, kept with the man she once loved.
    We lived on the top of civilization; literally the top. Those who had contracted the disease were hidden in the depths of a dark pergatory.

  20. cyclopszeus1

    we dont have much time we could both die in the next second….okay a minute
    hope this is good thnx

  21. S8910

    Mine would be:
    One bright,sunny morning,Carlita woke up to find a big red box on the floor.

  22. Onyxfairy5

    “I had to keep running! Faster! Faster! Faster!
    I woke up with a startled cry, I had the same dream-again. Mother told me it was just a nightmare and Father teased me saying that I should brush up on my cross-country if that dream were to come true. But the only person that takes it seriously is…”
    I’m starting a new book, its called “Isla of Lunaria” and well that’s my first sentence. Hope you like it!

  23. coolchicken3

    Here are three sentences I came up with:
    -It was coming closer
    -Have you ever been chased by a three-headed tiger in the middle of an inhabited jungle? I can tell you it is not the best way to spend a weekend.
    -I scanned the walls for any sign of a weakness but the minotaur was closing in on me fast.

  24. basiliskcode1

    i never new how the day i die would come but i didnt think it would be like this.
    i like this one probebly for a horror or a drama
    ltlmnstr 4evs

  25. SilverFairy1

    Hey its silver fairy ( thats right im a fairy whos silver!)
    jk… i wish tho woudent tht be so COOL!!!!! ONe day silver, one day. ok done with my daily freak out! Ok yes i am a writer i am working on a book which is about a girl who has forgettable power. What makes my book diffrent is tht there r so many suprises. ok and then first line of it is ( im gonna change the prologue!!)
    ” Why, WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS?! Do i even want to know? You know what, just, JUST LEAVE! Prepare too, cause when the battle comes, you’re dying first. that’s a promise! ”
    Ok so that wasent one line. btw If that was bad i made it up on the spot if it wasent bad then… i still made it up on the spot. i type alot. PCE READERS!!! AND WRITERS!!!! btw, im also a poet!!!

  26. magicalpanda1

    I’m sort of aiming to be an author when i grow up, and these are sentences i made up on my own~
    ~”Hold on!”Peter cried, I gripped on to his slipping hands and looked down to the bottomless crevice, if I fell, it was certain death.
    ~”I didn’t mean to kill Fluffy, it was an accident!”I said for what seemed like the millionth time.
    ~”Why do those creeps keep on following us?” I whispered to Ashley, she looked back at the weird men wearing black coats, black hats, and sunglasses and shrugged.
    ~Unless I managed to break the curse, everybody on Earth had only 120 hours left to live.
    ~Kelsey hated her birthday, it reminded her of too many scary memories she would rather forget.
    ~In the land of Magic, nobody died, there was always plenty of water and food, and the world was at peace, until I came along
    ~Because of my foolish mistake, my family, my friends, and my boyfriend had to pay the price with our lives

  27. Patricia

    1.The setting sun cast only a faint glow through the navy blue curtains, and Gabriel was glad for the coming darkness.
    2.As I gazed out at the desolate ruins of what had been the most beautiful city on Illieth,I couldn’t help but think ‘We will survive this.’
    3.She was known to the student body as ‘The Dark One’, not just for the color of her clothing, but also for the fact she resembled a vampire.

  28. Jaymie

    “10 minutes than im leaving!” Shawna said sternley. “i mean who takes 2 1/2 hours getting ready?Are you even listing?” No response “jenny?” shawna knocked on the bathroom door.”JEN open the door this isnt funny!” shawna got the key to the bathroom. She unlocked the door… She opened the door…
    Chapter 2
    “Hun you read to go?” alex said with foam from her toothpaste in her mouth. “Lemme grab my shoes.” Maxine her daughter said. She got her shoes walked into her moms bathroom and put them on. alex spit the foam. “Lets go.” Alex smiled. The got into alexs car and left. “Hey mom.” “yes hun.” “why did dad leave?” “He umm.” This was hard for her. She already knew the answer she was 12 and heard if before. but she wanted no NEEDED to hear it again and again. “He likes someone else hun.” “so hes in nevada?” “yes he didnt love the girl in seattle. He liked the girl in nevada.But there is much more to it.”
    Thats my new book i just started i only got 2 chaptars and its called double vision

  29. 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

  30. 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.

  31. 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!

  32. cnahk

    I made this one up”I said good-bye to my old clan and looked for who I wanted in my new one.”

  33. 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.

  34. 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 :)

  35. 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.

  36. 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?

  37. 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.

  38. 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.”

  39. 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.”

  40. 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.

  41. 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…

  42. mermaidprincess2


  43. 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”)

  44. 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.”

  45. 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

Comments are closed.