I've also learned that I never find typos until I've posted my blog EVERYWHERE in cyberspace. *thunks forehead on desk*
Anyway, so today is all about first lines and using them to inspire a piece of writing. I, personally, love first line prompts!
Here's a little known fact. The very first piece of writing I ever submitted to a magazine was a first line prompt contest entry for Writer's Journal magazine (Write to Win!). I can't even remember now what the prompt was (something about hearing voices). I sent in a short story about a girl hearing her dead grandmother's voice. Turned out, I got an honorable mention in that contest, and that was all I needed to push me to continue writing. Cool, huh?
Since, I've used first line prompts to create several short stories that have either been published or have placed in contests. First lines rock, baby!!!
But it's not always about someone else giving me a first line to work with. Sometimes the first line of a story will just appear in my head. Just one sentence, and it sticks there in my brain. And sometimes that first line is just intriguing enough for me to want to pursue a whole story.
For example, here's a first line that popped into my head one day, and it was enough for me to pursue the story:
The day my dad won the mayoral race, Benjy took me to the abortion clinic.
Another first line that started a short story:
I blame it all on Otis Spunkmeyer.
The first line that got me really rolling on my next YA novel was this:
Dad always said Mom was crazier than goosehouse shit.
Something about that line makes me laugh, and tells me so much about the main character it's not even funny, but alas, that sentence got moved farther down in the chapter and now the first line is:
The worst part about selling soup is the napkins.
Which is not a bad first line, either.
Anyway, you get the point. You get to know a lot about your character in a tasty first line. You also get a hint at some tension or a problem. And you want to know the next line. And the one after that. And what's best about a story being inspired by an intriguing first line is that the first line is, by definition, almost always an interesting one, which is super important in drawing the reader in.
This is one of my favorite ways for a story to come to me (which is why, incidentally, I saved it for last, even though it would have been infinitely easier to have Formula Friday and I wouldn't have had to get my thesaurus out yesterday. But then... I never would've used the word "theorem" yesterday and been all impressed with myself). And, yes, I did say "come to me," because a part of me feels like an innocent bystander in the case of first line inspiration. But I know they're out there and I keep my net ready to catch a good one when it floats by.
I love when I open my net to find all these colorful sentences quivering inside... and I can't help but wonder which ones of them will make great stories.