Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Opening Lines Contest #3

How about some really cool Young Adult opening lines? Something like:

If your teacher has to die, August isn’t a bad time of year for it.
(The Teacher’s Funeral)

The first thing I did was, I stole a body.

I’m sitting here in a dumb graduation gown, which covers a pair of boxer shorts I got from Millikin University’s baseball camp and a T-shirt with a picture of Eric Cartman on it.

Compelling, right? How about yours? How would you start a YA novel, so that a reader had to find out what happened next?

This time since I now have author copies of SLIDING ON THE EDGE, I'd like to offer a signed book to the winner.

We've had some great entries in the past two contests, I'm looking forward to reading the next great batch.


  1. "When I arrived at the green stoplight, I pushed on my brakes and came to a sudden halt; I always was a rebel."


  2. This is the first line of my book that my agent is going to go out with in a few weeks:

    "My dead grandfather was staring at me."
    - My so-called Bollywood Life


  3. Phooey, Lee, if I wasn't so lousy at opening lines, I'd enter. (That's not an opening line, BTW.)

  4. I felt like I was in a play and I was standing on the stage. I forgot my lines during the state of anxiousness. I stumbled through the words that came to my mind first.

    "I... love you." I said.

    I hope this isn't too long (3 sentences) but you said lines so I assume it's alright. :)

  5. Not sure if I´m supposed to just write my opening line here, but here goes:

    "Here´s what any 15-year old in 1974 wanted: popularity, a cheerleader´s uniform and a boyfriend on the basketball team.

  6. "I woke up startled, someone was on the house, or the crypt, I don't even know what to call it anymore. I got up, my feet touching the icy floor. I started to look for my robe- damn it's cold. I was thinking of what to do, the one million penny question... To kill or not to kill? After all you don't really know all the rules of the game if you are a newborn half-vampire"

    Too long? Got carried away... If you only want one id go with this one:

    "I was thinking of what to do, the one million penny question... To kill or not to kill?"


  7. All of these are fine. I said lines, so you can give me one, two, ten as long as your sub doesn't go into pages.

    Usually it's the first paragraph that grabs a reader.

    This contest is a chance to really think about that grabber you want to write.

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  9. Though I dug my heels into the tile floor, Grandma’s bony fingers weren’t letting loose of my wrist.

  10. "I’m not crazy. I promise. I don’t talk to walls, pet my invisible cat named Sugar, dance on tables in the cafeteria, or try to channel John Lennon’s wondering spirit through dollar store crystals."
    -from a novel that I never finished called Diary of a Crazy Girl


    question; are we allowed to post more than one if we have other opening lines?

  11. The rain sizzled on my skin like I was too hot and the rain was cooling the burns.

  12. Interesting question, Kathleen. I hadn't thought people would want to post more than one--sort of compete with themselves.

    Since my judges are getting ready for summer vacation, let's keep it to one per contest. Can't ask them to work too hard after a long school year.


  13. I bet you never heard of a human conduit, but when lightning strikes so do I. It starts with prickling on my arms and the hair on my head sticking up like its gelled or something. Then I get a jolt big enough to slam me upside a wall. But the worst is I can't hold all that current. I've got to release it, and that's when trouble happens. Every time.

  14. My brother Eric, a prize-winning sculptor and popular art teacher at our high school, died yesterday trying to stick up a 7-Eleven. If there’s anything to karma, he’ll come back as a rapper: Mos Douche.

  15. The music started up again, would it ever stop? I suppose not since it was the result of my mother, the Dutchess of Kareef's planning. I flattened myself against the potted plant's hard ceramic pot and tried to hide from the swirling, richly clad nobles who were prowling the dance floor,waiting to dance with me, wrap their old shriveled hands around my waist. God, I hated birhtdays.

    ** i hope that wasnt too long


  16. Dear Myself,

    Two things to remember: the sound of his laughter the first time you spoke and the look in his eyes the first time he saw you.


    I hope that was all right, its not all on one line, but its in letter form so I wasn't certain...

  17. Don't look, don't look, I told myself. The wind whipped my hair all around my face, into my mouth, and almost covering my eyes; but not covering them enough to block out the horror show in front of me.
    My twin brother dangling from a shredding rope which spanned a gorge that fell three hundred feet into a wide, rocky river with a demon of a current. Beside me, Baron von Bose cackled in a way so perfectly evil he must've practiced it for hours while he holed up in his rat-infested mansion.
    "Go on, Alie," he grinned, as if the whole thing was a big joke. "Save him. Show us all how great you claim to be."
    My tongue, locked with fear as it was, couldn't even begin to form a scathing comeback. He knew my one fatal flaw--my absolute terror of heights. Monkey bars on a playground used to have me waking up at midnight in a cold sweat. But as I watched the rope pop and crackle into smaller and smaller threads, I knew I had to make a decision--fast. And the choice was way to obvious.

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  19. The shards of glass bit at the palms of my once smooth hands and dug into my once scar-free legs. My blood, that I am so used to seeing, slid down my face and tumbled to the ground in one smooth motion, exactly like it has every time in the past. "Now clean up this mess you created before your mother gets home. You know how she likes a clean house." For tonight, it's over, I thought as I began to sweep up my blood and the remnants of my glass award that I was so proud of.

    I hope that's not too long.


  20. Hi Anonymous. Hi Alexa.

    Thanks for your entry. You've added some interesting openings to the mix.

    Be sure to check back at then end of the month for the winner---or come back sooner to see what the competition has posted.

    This is shaping up to be a great contest.

  21. His eyes roamed from one side of the classroom to the other, searching for...and then he saw it.

  22. Welcome, Yvonne, and thanks for the wonderful submission. Stay tuned for the results.

  23. All things considered, life was pretty cruddy. I hate being dead.


    I rolled out of bed, my back twitching in pain. Great, a bent feather. What a way to start the morning.


    Saturday was a day of revelations. It was the day I realized that nobody would come looking for me.


    A tear rolled quietly down my cheek while my body began to shake uncontrollably. Death shrouded my hand as I stared at the devastation it had caused.

    First lines are hard! :)


  24. The book was there again. For the fourth time this week Janna had returned home to find the musty tome open to the exact same dog earred page - 412- and lying on her bed. She didn't need to read it though to know what it said, she'd all but memorized it, and the doom it prophesied for her family.

    Thank you,


  25. Cinnamon's absolutely right. First lines ARE hard, but man are they important.


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