Behold last week’s challenge: “A Terrible Lie.”
(Alternate name for this challenge: “Just The Tip.”)
Normally, this challenge is about utilizing brevity — be it with a 1000 words, 100 words, or three sentences — to tell a complete story. Well, not today, my little red balloons.
Today, I just want a single sentence.
I want to read the opening line to a story.
One you’re just making up now.
One whose opening line will drag me kicking and screaming and shove my face into wanting more.
One whose opening line is sharp, enticing, potent.
So. You’ve got a single sentence to promise a killer story.
I’ll keep the challenge open for a week.
Winner gets a postcard in the mail from yours truly.
This postcard shall contain a piece of writing advice on it for you and you alone.
You’ve got one sentence and one week. Enter by 4/13/12 at noon EST.
Enter below in the comments — normally I’d have you post elsewhere, but these will be brief.
To clarify, please enter only once.
229 responses to “Flash Fiction Challenge: Just The Opening Line”
I had never been in my grandmother’s attic, and used to wonder what was in it.
In the deep, unforgiving bitterness of twighlight, a single figure cloaked in the darkness of his own heart hauled the mangled, rotting carcass of what once was a very attractive young woman into a soot infected shell for a raging inferno that served as the only source of heat for miles, lavishly enjoying every moment the furnace tortured its victim even through death.
Yeah Yeah I know. If you want to know what the f*ck is going on, you’ll just have to read more! ^^
The John Wayne approach wasn’t going to work here, but the little french maid outfit had some promise.
The harsh blue light of the daystar had just vanished behind the northern crags when the first of the ninja clans appeared at Black Taren’s dairy farm, bearing gifts both wondrous and deadly.
That familiar beast called nausea curled inside my stomach and threatened to leap out of my mouth all over the backseat of dad’s ’87 Ford F150.
“There’s no worse time, no bottom of the barrel, piece of shit on the boot, soul eradicating personal low in a sellsword’s life then those next few days after their employer’s lost a war.”
(Would’ve posted this sooner, but I kind of got caught up in writing the rest of the story. Woops!)
“Officer, I can explain.”
Mr Scudder always says I shouldn’t read those comic books anymore, the ones with all the space-fighting and heroes and stuff, because god doesn’t like liars or spaceships; but sometimes my mom whispers to me when he can’t hear, and she says I won’t have to worry soon, and just keep writing and never stop–and never /never/ show it to anyone.
They found Nikki Nookie in a dumpster on 57th street.
I always blink when I lie and as they are coming to question me I thread the needle with cotton knowing it will be painful but at least it will confuse the situation.
“I had to kill my wife with tire iron.” She said. “And that’s when everything went south.”
Bob knew the moment he entered his home, the ghost was gone.
So many tentacles, so little time.
A couple of weeks ago my fridge finally admitted the truth.
She covered her head as the splintered wood from the cathedral doors rained down around her and as she looked up no science fiction or horror movie could have prepared her for what came through the open gash that remained.
“If you do not betray me Judas, who will be crucified?” Jesus asked of the one disciple he had come to view as a brother.
The reports of my death were greatly exaggerated, and yet they were true; I was dead.
This is a comment on the above lines.
The most appealing of them limited the word count to about 10 or 15 words.
Patrick DeWitts simple description of his book “The Sisters Brothers” starts out small. Chuck Wendigs description of his latest starts out small.
Smaller seems to be better.
(That’s my entry)
The lawn was on fire, and he was beginning to regret choosing a pink flamingo as his weapon of choice.
“Of all the people Ryn could have met while dragging a freshly poached deer carcass through the woods, the new Head Summoner had to be the worst.”
My favorite so far is Sparky’s secret society one.
What great fun! :-)) No, that’s not my sentence. I just finished reading through all the entries.
This is my sentence: They appeared as silhouettes to her, and on a humor-filled whim, she called out, “Boo!”
The hair stood up on the back of Heather’s neck as she jogged through a pocket of cold air.
In life, my sister had always been a bitch; in death, her ghost reached levels of drama queen undreamt of in Heaven or Earth.
This is the line I actually want to use as the opening to my book…unless I get feedback to the contrary.
Toward the end of that century and well into the next, the twenty-first century would come to be called “The Best Mother-Fucking Century Ever.”
Wait, wait! I need a redo! There was a typo in the first one! Here’s the redo:
It was the best of thyme, it was the wurst of times.
Naked, she broke bread at the table and gesticulated wildly with the crusts as she spoke and as crumbs were spluttering down her front I realised far too late, this was all my fault.
It formed a crimson ball from the rivulet that fed it, and hung suspended for what seemed an eternity before it fell to the gathering pool below.
The Elders told me the warded chains were for my own protection; they mistook my laughter for sobbing and turned their backs on me.
Well, little miss Smirkypants; did you know that drawstring you are chewing on was made from a man’s intestines?
Cassie would need special tools to fit her degenerate husband’s body into the wine fridge.
The hot summer was the busiest, the unseen of the night more active and the warm rains aided the undying’s escape from the grave
He had been my best friend, and the book he’d left behind for me would kill everyone he’d once loved.
As I stared dumbly at the corpse of my girlfriend, the nameless old man who had arrived to late to save her from the werecanary raised a gnarled fist, shook it toward the clouds and, raging as only a man whose lifelong mission to capture the fiendish finch that killed his family had been a series of interminable quests leading to one dead end after another but who also never shook off his grandmother’s stern lectures against blasphemy while remaining enamored of her native Scottish brogue that he was still incompetently imitating after more than fifty years (though I wouldn’t know any of that ‘til much later) could rage, cried out: “Gosh darn ye, Serinus Canaria Lycanthropa, gosh darn ye straight tae heck!”
(hides face in shame)
The tentacles began to stretch beyond the door of the moldy bathroom, and Harold knew that hotdogs and bologna would no longer satisfy the thing that had been growing inside.
I didn’t know how long it would take to cross through the canyon, but if someone had asked me if it would take longer with crossbows raining down bolts, I would have answered, “Probably.”
@Gabriella: So, Jesus is to Judas as Dumbledore is to Snape? 😉
…I likez it.
After reading this mornings headline, she dropped dead.
A blank piece of paper is like a clean sheet, in that the respect they have for you is well earn’t, but lacks the smears that the experiance of true life should bring.
It takes a certain finesse to embrace one’s insanity and still remain somewhat functional in this world, but he came off like a showman; with style, charisma, a winning smile and a knife caked with so much blood, you couldn’t tell anymore what metal it was made of.
While this wasn’t the first time I’d woken up dead, it was certainly the strangest.
They were crucifying Jesus when I reached the electric railway.
He watched the storm building, drawing neon diagrams on the horizon; after a moment’s reflection he took the rusty gun that lay next to him and pressed it against this temple, trembling slightly, and cried out: “Ophelia, this is your funeral, this your dirge!”
Ava had not planned on spending her weekend house hunting with the new clients, but Mr. Braden had thrice tried to possess her, and the walls of her office were still bleeding after Mrs. Braden’s tantrum over hard wood flooring.
She came home from school with blood on her shirt and victory in her eyes.
It was the fourth time I’d been to the Time’s wake, but as long as I avoided myself it was always a Hell of a party.
“I don’t understand why they can’t tell me where she is.”
My own smart-ass comment notwithstanding–I had a real entry and then I kind of ripped on a few others that I saw–I see a clear division of two types of entries: one type is a single sentence that is the opening of story, and the other is type is where someone tries to write an entire story in one sentence.
It made me go back and read the directions again, to make sure I did it right. And sure enough, I didn’t, because I made two entries–even though one was joke. But I do want to apologize for the second one–it just seemed funny to me. I hope I didn’t hurt anyone’s feelings. I know that if you got to know me, you’d understand that I truly am a dick.
But I want to clarify that the first entry is the one I actually meant, and not the second one.
Or this one.
Or the next one I make. (I’m trying to be proactive.)