Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Opening Lines

For those of you, and I’m talking to myself here mostly, that inspire to be a writer, but often don’t feel very inspired by life, have I got an article for you. Write it Sideways provides a little perspective on creating extraordinary writing out of an ordinary life. F. Scott, or even Zelda Fitzgerald, I am not, but I do hope someday more than my editor (DD2) reads the struggling to be completed book I’ve been working on for two years. It seems like the first line might make or break it as to whether a reader gets to line 2. My life is ordinary, and I’m quite fine with that. High drama is loaded with conflict, and I’ll do without that please, or incredible sadness, and I’ve had enough of that as well. While I’ve had humorous experiences, the ones that make for really interesting lives, probably were loaded with stress and anxiety at the time. Still, I must have something going on that could spark that one, first great line. Let me try a few opening lines out on you, with the items immediately that were in my forefront yesterday morning. I cheated a bit and added a second line at times.


  • Her travel mug was bounty for daily affirmation. Good morning gorgeous, was scripted along the side, with a tea bag quoting Kierkegaard, dangling from the lid.

  • Despite doing no physical labor, her hands, rough from time and weather, soaked in the lotion as she methodically and intentionally rubbed them together.

  • The daily overheard loud phone call, her colleague making appointments for the ailment of the day or week, was annoying and reassuring at the same time. At least that’s not my life she thought with a bit of guilt.

  • She listened intently to the foreign news correspondent, not for what she was reporting on, but because of where she was physically reporting from. In a places she only could imagine, life was happening, and she was an auditorial witness. 
  •  The smell of burnt toast lofting through the office was like an alarm, signifying the coffee pot was on; his work day would begin.
  • Walking past the pristine and orderly work space, she had an immediate uneasiness that didn't go away until she was back in her space, surrounded reassuringly by her own clutter. 

Would you want to read more? I like playing with various writers exercises like this. I like to think I am a life long learner, and any day that goes by and I learn something new, must be a good day. How about you?  Comment below with an opening line or two for a story that is part of your life today. Let's see who might have the start of the great American (or insert nationality) novel.

13 comments:

  1. Those are all good. I am a reader, so getting past the first line is easy for me. I would give you several pages or chapters to impress me.

    My book is just lounging about, waiting for me.

    I, too, am a life-long learner. I need to learn to write consistently. Sorry, I don't have an opening line. I could give you the opening line for my book. The opening line is quite shocking and has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the book. However, I have received many compliments.

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    1. Now you have me intrigued, Linda. I like a good opening shock.

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  2. Your opening lines are great, engaging with humour and interest. Keep it up.
    I'm a avid reader but as for a writer? I think a blog post is my limit! x

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    1. Now only a couple thousand more words to follow and I may have a short story. I bet you could pull together an incredible book from your trips and weekends.

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  3. This is my all time favorite opening for a book. "Jitterbug Perfume" by Tom Robbins. I think it is a nearly perfect enticement to continue reading.
    "THE BEET IS THE MOST INTENSE of vegetables.
    The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious."

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    1. Now get me to the library. I need to check that book out. I'll never look at a beet the same way.

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  4. I would say that some of those are definitely making me wonder what has happened before or what is about to which as a reader you want your interest piqued. I enjoy playing with words and telling short tales on my blog, but that's as far as it ever gets. Good luck with it!
    Arilx

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    1. I get into these writing exercises, but then get stuck. I need to string the whole thing together. I keep saying my book is 90% done, so soon. As for the what happened next, there are some smoldering ideas floating in my head.

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  5. Diving through the bowl of empty peanut shells for that one elusive nut, Diane realized the bowl was a metaphor for her life as she struggled to find that rare gold nugget of opening lines.
    Couldn't resist!
    I'd like to see you develop the one with the Kierkegaard tea bag!

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    1. The tea bag one really intrigues me too

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    2. You, Jane, are a natural. I love it. Well, I can say, my tea was thoroughly enjoyed, and I even had a refill.

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  6. Climbing out of her campervan bed where she slept the night like the dead, she snuggled into her matrimonial bed full of echoes of snores.
    Maybe not the best opening line, but the truth!
    I love your life in opening lines. It is a bit like writing newpaper headlines for yourself. Sounds more dramatic than it really is :-)
    xo Jazzy Jack

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    1. Love your opener, and darn if I a not interested in this camper van living! You made me think of Shipping News, and how the editor decided on headlines.

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