Wednesday’s Writing Prompt: First Liners

This week’s challenge:      WRITE A FIRST-LINER

First liners are the hooks that make the reader (and editors) take note of your writing. Hooks matter.

A lot!

Tip:  When you’re at the book store, or shopping at Amazon, read and study first liners. Choose your favorites and ask yourself why it draws you in. What emotion do you feel right away? How has the author achieved this? How many of the five w’s are included? (Who, what, where, when and why.)

Write the opening sentence to a story based on this photo.

Do it in 30 words or less.

Leave your words in the comment section.


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  1. Okay. I’ll be the first.

    Hurricanes have no boundaries. They swallow possessions from the rich and poor, spitting out only the remains.

  2. Robin says:

    My stomach sang at the heavenly scent of the squished, half-eaten slice of bread, but as I reached for it, I saw them coming.

  3. Linda Bonney Olin says:

    Nice lines, guys! Can an old geezerette take a stab at this?
    “I ain’t sure which wrenched my gut more–picking through that stinking garbage or knowing a woman who still wants to be married don’t “accidentally” throw out her wedding ring along with the kids’ dirty Pampers.”

    • Hi Linda! You made me laugh. Yes, yes, yes. I’m so glad you took a STAB at this, and it’s a-ok that you exceeded the limit. You showed us so much about this lady in these few words. We know she’s funny, happily married (or close), and has kids (or grandkids) still in diapers. We also know she’s not too proud to pick through the garbage for what’s important to her–this speaks of her value system. And I like her. Already!
      Thanks for contributing.

      • Linda Bonney Olin says:

        Uh-oh… I thought the photo was a man, Michelle. I was going for a doting young husband/father getting the first clue that his wife doesn’t have Happily Ever After on her mind. At least, not with him.
        But I can see it working equally well as the grandmother trying to stop her daughter from throwing her marriage away.

        • Ha! That works, too. You have an amazing imagination. I reread your post and realized you didn’t say whether the person was a she or he. First liners are like that. They leave the reader guessing, don’t they?

  4. Linda Bonney Olin says:

    OOPS! Writing 101: Follow the publisher’s guidelines. I got so carried away with my scenario, I exceeded your 30 word limit.

  5. Big FAN says:

    There I was looking for the manuscript my illiterate partner had dumped in the trash when the long lost first manuscript by the most famous author of biblical history fell out of the hymnal that some agnostic had tossed.

  6. Monica C. says:

    “I see you in there,” Mazie sneered, shaking her finger at the shifting pile of garbage. “You stinking mongrel. I’ll get back my sausages, one way or another.”

    • Hi Monica! Love this! Thanks for contributing and stopping by RANDOM. I hope Mazie finds those sausages and when she does she doesn’t try to serve them to me. I enjoyed this dialogue.

      • Monica C. says:

        Hah, yes! I wouldn’t want her to serve them to me, either. The picture immediately made me think of someone scolding the garbage, and I had to try to make it work. 🙂

  7. Kara says:

    I rumaged threw the remains of the place I once called home. Trying to find my personal belongings, but all I could find was junk… and a broken heart…

    • Hi Kara! It’s nice to see you here. Great first liner! It made me sad. Emotion is good.
      Come back again soon. I’m going to have more Wednesday Writing prompts.

  8. Lucille’s stroll through the alley of what was once a beautiful city block, victim of decay and neglect, was interrupted by the sparkle of hope amongst the debris.

    • Thanks for taking the challenge and stopping by, Mary. Great first-liner! It makes us want to read on. We have to find out what the sparkle is. Everyone loves hope. We want to know that there’ll be a happily-ever-after somewhere in Lucille’s future.

  9. It was a bit of a stretch. Normally my “first one-liners” are two sentences, or three. I didn’t realize that until I tried to do this.
    Interesting exercise!

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