Friday, April 12

Chuck Wendig's Flash Fiction Challenge: Choose Your Opening Line

Chuck Wendig's Flash Fiction Challenge: Choose Your Opening Line

I love Chuck Wendig's flash fiction challenges!

While I haven't succeeded in writing a 1,000 word short story that I could enter, I have succeeded in writing a 5,000 word short story which is something I've been trying to do for a while. Before that they ended up being over 10,000 words and heading into novella territory.

This particular challenge has my muse all perked up and ready to go.


The Challenge


Choose one of the following and make it the first sentence of your story:
1. Once James accepted that he had no choice but to burn the books, the question became which to burn first. — Valerie Valdes

2. Prima donnas aren’t born.
 — Mari Bayo

3. The ghost of a sparrow flitted through one wall and out the other.
 — CJ Eggett

4. I was born beneath a black veil of mourning, a dark bud blooming deep in its shadow. — 
Gina Herron

5. It’s always midnight somewhere.  – Andrew Jack

6. My brother’s birth was preceded by three distinct and inexplicable phenomena. — Jason Heitkamper

7. Max sat amongst the dead, whistling to himself.  – Brad

8. For the second time in a week, I come over Shatter Hill at midnight and see fire at the crossroad below.  – Bill Cameron

9. I never trusted that statue in the garden behind the house.
 — Cat York

10. Larry was on the toilet, shitting his brains out, while cleaning his gat.
  – The Philosophunculist

11. The problem with the ringing phone wasn’t how loud it was, or that it hadn’t stopped ringing for an hour, but that Tom didn’t have a phone. — Jake Bible

12. When the last cherry blossom falls, so will my axe.
  – Delilah

13. “You must walk three paces behind me,” she said. “And never raise your eyes to mine.” — Nathan Long

14. Tommy beat him with a kiss, and the crowd hated him for it. — Hector Acosta
Each of the 14 sentences, above, were chosen from over 400 comments left by contributors on Chuck Wendig's blog post last week: Flash Fiction Challenge: The Kick-Ass Opening Line.

Chuck picked three lucky winners who will receive a pre-order of his book Blue Blazes.


The Winners: Chuck Wendig's Picks

3. The ghost of a sparrow flitted through one wall and out the other.
 — CJ Eggett

13. "You must walk three paces behind me,” she said. “And never raise your eyes to mine.” — Nathan Long

12. When the last cherry blossom falls, so will my axe.
 – Delilah
Great choices! Here are my favorites:
9. I never trusted that statue in the garden behind the house.
 — Cat York

11. The problem with the ringing phone wasn’t how loud it was, or that it hadn’t stopped ringing for an hour, but that Tom didn’t have a phone. — Jake Bible

5. It’s always midnight somewhere. – Andrew Jack
All 14 first sentences were creative and contained effective 'hooks' (for more on what makes an effective hook: here and here).


Chuck Wendig's Prize This Week


Although Chuck Wendig is sending Jake, Delilah and Nathan copies of Blue Blazes, he hasn't finished giving stuff away. He writes:
The goal is simple:

To write a story using one of the opening lines above. You can choose from the whole lot — not just the three “winners.” Any of the opening lines you find on this page (again, I think I’ve listed 14 of ‘em) are open game. Choose your opening line and write a piece of flash fiction (up to 1000 words) with that line as the opener. Post it at your online space, link back here.

I’ll choose one person’s story — just one! — to win autographed copies of my books Blackbirds, Mockingbird, and Gods & Monsters. This is open only to US residents (international are welcome to play, but the best prize I can offer you is e-copies of my writing books).
Maybe this will be the week I'll get my story under 1,000 words! (fingers crossed)

Remember: To enter the contest, post your story on your blog then leave a comment, with a link to your story, on Chuck Wendig's blog post.

Question: Which three opening lines (of the 14, above) are your favorite?

Other articles you might like:

- Is Writing Rewriting?
- PubIt! Rebranded as NOOK Press
- Every Buffy Needs A Xander: What Makes A Great Sidekick

Photo credit: "chess" by nestor galina under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

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