It’s been a while since I shared any of my writing or even updated about it. I can never tell if people are interested in reading “writing update” posts, so I go back and forth about posting them. But I’m still steadily editing through my YA contemporary novel. I’m almost finished with draft 4 and looking toward handing it off to some beta readers that haven’t read it yet. It’s getting closer and closer to being a completed story, and it’s crazy! I’ve never edited anything this far before. It’s starting to feel real.

In addition to my own writing, I’m still running a teen writing club through the library. We’ve been doing workshop with their work and it’s been fun to read their writing as well as to see how they help each other with feedback. As always, we continue to do writing exercises together. Recently, since we discussed prologues and how to write them, I had them write ten opening lines for a novel. This could be ten different lines for the story they are currently working on or ten opening lines for different stories (or, as we discovered, a combination was easier). The idea is not to think too hard about each line but hope that as you keep writing them out, they improve.

Since the story I’m working on has a solid opening line/paragraph, I decided to just go through my abandoned Pinterest story boards and write an opening line for any of the stories I haven’t started or haven’t thought about in a long time. Thus, I wrote more than ten lines and I didn’t even write opening lines for every story I have a board for.

Some of these are definitely not good and need more work, but there are some that came out great and I like a lot. I’ve left an asterisk by the ones I like the best.

  • When Avis Hart was eight years old, she watched the commercial zeppelin carrying her parents exploded into fire and smoke.
    • I have a much better opening for this story. I just don’t remember word for word how it starts.
  • Just remember, Alice, it’s all in your head
    Remember, Alice, nothing is real at the circus.
    • Something about this isn’t exactly right. I’m trying to pair Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with Caraval or The Night Circus. It needs work.
  • I am going to die.
    This will be the death of me.
  • I lift my gun, squint, and shoot the ugly lizard chomping on my prized heifer straight in its beady little eye.
    • I also have a better opening for a similar scene, but I don’t remember exactly how it starts.
  • [Jane] ran down the rain slicked street, bare feet slapping the pavement, as blood streamed from the cut in her side.
    • Something about this one isn’t right either. Also, I don’t know the name of the main character, so that’s why it’s in brackets.
  • “I bow to no one, sir,” I said, staring the knight straight in his eyes.
  • My childhood wasn’t always bad. Some days it was fun to grow up with super powers.*
  • She woke to darkness, sweat clinging to the rags of a dress on her back, and a dry fire burning in her throat.
  • Seventeen was too young for him to die yet here he was, dangling through open space, hanging by a thread.*
    • I have some kind of similar opening for this story as well, but I like the way this one came out.
  • Look, I didn’t ask to be born into this family. And I definitely didn’t ask for two older brothers.
  • The night before the dance, I accidentally dyed my sister’s hair blue.*
  • Humanity didn’t always live in a glass cage. Once we were free as birds, able to roam anywhere. Until the plague.
    All humanity lives behind glass walls.
    All humans, except one, live behind glass walls.
    All humans, except one, die from the plague.
    All humans, except one, grow old from the plague.
    • This is for a post-apocalyptic Peter Pan retelling, but I can’t make that famous opening line work for the story like I want. I’ll have to play around with it more.
  • There once was a fox, and he ruined my life.
  • I stare at my reflection in the mirror and force myself to forget–the blood, the bruises, the dark alley, even the rain.*
    • Some of these “opening lines” need to be an entire paragraph to make it work better.
  • Mr. Fluffywig would not come down from the rafters.*