Monday Challenge: Reeling ‘Em In

Small fishingboat in Sarıyer, Bosphorus.

Or, another way to catch your readers.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sorry for the late post. This Monday’s been all about speed and timing so far. I had a phone conversation half a world away and then raced a storm to get my errands done.

However, now I’m home and the rain is starting to fall, which means time to get at it. Go grab yourself a cup of coffee and buckle in. Today’s challenge is like a good boxer’s jab: all about speed and placement.

Every story needs a good opening line. It’s the hook that digs into your reader’s lip and pulls them in. You have to follow up and set it right in there to get them all the way to the end, but a compelling opener sets the stage. It says, something interesting is coming, and you don’t want to miss it.

Today’s challenge: write some opening lines that make you want to read the story that goes with them. No need to have a whole story planned out before you do. This is more in the nature of a brainstorming exercise. Only rule is that it can only be one sentence. Write quick, spending no more than a minute on each one. Rattle out five, just because. Do it fast, and drop the reader into the meat of the story idea. Open strong.

The best part about doing this? You can give your imagination free rein. No need to plot or organize. Just put something together that makes you go, Hey, this could be fun. I do this every now and then just to see what I come up with, and it’s always a surprise. Sometimes I ever get a whole story idea out of it. The point is to create an opener that makes you want to read the rest, right? Well, sometimes I want to know what happens so badly that I have to write the story that comes after.

Here’s some examples I’ve come up with today:

Of all the useless fucking things to hear as I drove the knife in, his sad little “I’m sorry” had to be the worst.

Mom’s new body got delivered today; it doesn’t suit her.

I could say that I didn’t mean for it to turn out this way, but we both know that’s a lie.

The patrol helicopters would be back soon, but Adam thought he could get to the book store first if he ran hard enough.

Before the sky broke, one of the only nice things about living in the future was the weather.

Got the idea? Right. Your turn. Go. Hit the ground running and don’t look back.

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6 thoughts on “Monday Challenge: Reeling ‘Em In

  1. OK les’ see.
    # 1. “So this is what it’s like to die…
    # 2. ” Her eyes never left mine as she slowly began to unbutton her blouse…
    # 3. ” I now had proof that there is a God…
    # 4. “Looking forward through the prop I could see the ground coming up fast…

    That’s all I got right now. Gotta go I’m running out of quotation marks.

  2. This is a really dangerous exercise for me. Two things, I’m really good at starting on a blank page and two, the idea that catches me often runs off so fast and so far that I lose track of the things I’m supposed to be doing. So thanks, but for now I’m avoiding this one.

    I liked the one aboutr the Mom’s body, that piqued my interest.

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