Have you ever struggled with Beginning? I have. Often. Starting something new, when you know almost nothing about it at the start, is scary. I’ve been trying to read more, as I am writing more. So, ready to “start” the story I’ve been fumbling around with for some time, I decided to (here’s your Prompt): write down the opening sentences of a few books.
YES! I DID IT! I grabbed 30 of the miscellaneous books perched on an old roll‑around rack which sits next to my desk; wrote the title, author and usually just the first sentence. Occasionally I copied a tiny bit more: you’ll find here lots of fantasy, several historicals, two or three non‑fictions, several contemporary, and a fair number of Utah authors in the mix. It’s what I read C or am waiting to read. Which ones do you want to read, based on their opening salvos? Analyze what works, what doesn‘t, and why:
The Lightning Thief ~ Rick Riordan
Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood.
The Sea of Monsters ~ Rick Riordan
My nightmare started like this
The Titan’s Curse ~ Rick Riordan
The Friday before winter break, my mom packed me an overnight bag and a few deadly weapons and took me to a new boarding school.
The Last Olympian ~ Rick Riordan
The end of the world started when a pegasus landed on the hood of my car.
The Gunslinger: The Dark Tower ~ Stephen King
The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.
Dreaming the Eagle ~ Manda Scott
Autumn A. D. 32 – The attack came in the hour before dawn.
Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus ~ R. L. LaFevers
March 23, 1907 – I hate being followed.
Signed, Skye Harper ~ Carol Lynch Williams
Nanny sat at the kitchen table when I wandered in at dusk from swimming, not a light in the house on just a cigarette glowing.
Shadow on the Crown ~ Patricia Bracewell
Eve of St. Hilda’s Feast, November 1001 Near Saltford, Oxfordshire
She made a circuit of the clearing among the oaks, three times round and three times back, whispering spells of protection.
Wolf Hall ~ Hilary Mantel
Putney, 1500 “So now get up.”
Matched ~ Ally Condie
Now that I’ve found the way to fly, which directions should I go into the night?
Reached ~ Ally Condie
Every morning, the sun comes up and turns the earth red, and I think: This could be the day when everything changes.
Crossed ~ Ally Condie
I’m standing in a river.
The Fault in Our Stars ~ John Green
Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death.
Possession ~ Elana Johnson
Good girls don’t walk with boys.
Surrender ~ Elana Johnson
Someone is always watching. Always listening.
Abandon ~ Elana Johnson
Secrets are hard to keep C especially if your girlfriend can read minds.
How Did I Get So Busy? ~ Valorie Burton
Do you find yourself rushing from one activity to the next, from the time you wake up in the morning until you go to sleep at night?
Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Demigod Files ~ Rich Riordan
Dear Young Demigod, If you are reading this book, I can only apologize. Your life is about the get much more dangerous.
A Song for Gilgamesh ~ Elizabeth Jamison Hodges
In very olden times, early one morning in the land of Sumer a young potter with a goatskin bag over his left shoulder was hurrying through a narrow street of Unug.
The Blood of Olympus ~ Rick Riordan
Jason hated being old.
The Sorceress ~ Michael Scott
“I think I see them.
Reading Like a Writer ~ Francine Prose
Can creative writing be taught? It’s a reasonable question, but no matter how often I’ve been asked it, I never know quite what to say.
Timepiece: An Hourglass Novel ~ Myra McEntire
Maybe getting drunk and dressing up like a pirate for the masquerade was a bad idea.
Dorothy Must Die ~ Danielle Paige
I first discovered I was trash three days before my ninth birthday C one year after my father lost his job and moved to Secaucus to live with a woman named Crystal and four years before my mother had the car accident, starting taking pills, and began exclusively wearing bedroom slippers instead of normal shoes.
Mark of the Thief ~ Jennifer A. Nielsen
In Rome, nothing mattered more than the gods, and nothing mattered less than its slaves.
TroubleTwisters ~ Garth Nix & Sean Williams
The year he twins turned twelve, everything changed.
A Confusion of Princes ~ Garth Nix
I have died three times, and three times been reborn, though I am not yet twenty in the old Earth years by which it is still the fashion to measure time.
The Throne of Fire ~ Rick Riordan
Carter here. Look, we don’t have time for long introductions. I need to tell the story quickly, or we’re all going to die.
Characters & Viewpoint ~ Orson Scott Card
The characters in your fiction are people. Human beings. Yes, I know you make them up. But readers want your characters to seem like real people.
(Feel free to re‑use my prompts, modified to YOUR specifications ‑‑‑ I “stole” them too from Carol Lynch Williams, AnnDeeCanDee, Cheryl, The ABC Writers Guild and others . . . )