Friday, February 19, 2010

First Line Challenge

Are you ready to get your creative juices flowing?

I'll give you the first sentence of a famous novel, and your job is to turn it into a paragraph that is totally unique, and totally you!

Authors and characters are all welcome to attempt this little exercise. Let's see how many different perspectives we can create. As a bonus, try to guess the book that's being quoted.

(Incidentally, the last opener was from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.)

Okay, are you ready? Here we go!

In the ancient city of London, on a certain autumn day in the second quarter of the sixteenth century, a boy was born to a poor family of the name of Canty, who did not want him...

17 comments:

Ryan said...

In the ancient city of London, though its not nearly as old as Rome, on a certain autumn day in the second quarter of the sixteenth century, a boy was born to a poor family by the name of Canty, who did not want him. This family, as it so happened, once belong to the line of Pilot, the executioner of Christ, and had been in a state of constant decline since that time sixteen centuries before hand. This boy that was born unto the Canty family, was that of an unholy union to start with. His mother was Margarette Canty, his father Richard Canty. Brother and Sister.

Lazaro said...

...so I ate his brain and it was delicious.

Ricky said...

Wow, Lazaro. That's, uh...some ending, there.

Olivia Harper said...

No kidding, Ricky. Sorta gross, if you ask me.

But that's the great thing about "first line challenges" - they can go in any direction imaginable... and with Lazaro, that direction usually involves brains. Poor little unwanted boy - he never stood a chance.

Jil said...

because he was their thirteenth child, and another boy. If even one earlier child had been a girl they would have stopped there but as it was they had kept trying. Boy after boy arrived in spite of prayers, witch's potions and the secret female dance.There was only one thing to do if the worn out mother was not to spend the rest of her fertile life bearing children in hopes of birthing the lucky one.. Mrs Canty stole out of the house and down to the canal, the blue wrapped bundle in her arms letting out a soft wail as though foreseeing its future. An ancient crone stole from the shadows. She carried a bundle of her own and together, in the lea of a bridge the two women crouched over the child. After a few minutes Mrs Canty was on her way home, this time carrying a pink bundle with what must be a girl baby due to its frilly cap and rose patterned booties. Josephine wept, knowing in his baby mind, that he would never be called Joe again.

Jesse Littleton said...

...and so he was placed on the steps of the local orphanage, where he was destined to live a life so dreary and loveless that it would put Oliver Twist's whiny existence to shame.

Marenya said...

So they left him to his fate in the forest. As he lay in his basket staring up at the dappled light between the branches, a faun came by and found him. He picked the child up and took him home to his wife.

So the child grew up strong and wild and magical, and learned all the secrets of the forest and the hidden people. One day, he would fulfill his destiny and save his land from a terrible fate.

(For is that not what all abandoned orphans do in tales?)

Marenya said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ginger said...

So they left him on the steps of the church. A young woman whose job it was to clean the sanctuary on Saturday afternoon came and found him. She was not married, but she loved him from the first moment she saw him, and decided to take him in.

But people thought that she was his mother, and had made up the tale of finding him on the steps. They were cruel to her, for no good deed goes unpunished. Fearing that he would not be accepted by the other children and their parents, she took him away to the country, married a handsome young vicar, and lived happily ever after.

Devi Marconi said...

Ginger and Marenya, I appreciate your happy endings... so much nicer than Lazaro's - or Jesse's, for that matter.

Elaine 'still writing' Smith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elaine 'still writing' Smith said...

In the ancient city of London, on a certain autumn day in the second quarter of the sixteenth century, a boy was born to a poor family of the name of Canty, who did not want him...
his red face, screwed eyes, emaciated limbs and thin, mewling cry made him a son only a mother could love. But the babe's misfortune was that his had died foisting this tiny scrap of humanity upon the world. His life hung in the balance which was only to be expected as his father's had ended in a like manner. But Tom Canty was a lucky boy.

Laura Martone said...

Wow! I'm impressed with the different directions taken. Some happy (Ginger), some not so happy (Lazaro), but, all in all, interesting.

Now, for the big question... does anyone know the novel that features this first line?

Elaine 'still writing' Smith said...

Bless!
I let Tom take his bow, his doppelganger can just wait his turn!

Donna Hole said...

. . . suffer their own miserable fates as peasants. With his porceline cheeks, watery blue eyes and fine golden hair, his newborn beauty sparked a love the couple had never felt for his four older sisters.

With a heavy heart and a mind on all the wonderous deeds his beautiful son would accomplish with the advantages of wealth, Papa Canty bundled Heathrow in the fine linen cloth a noble lady had left for him to make her draperies from, and placed the child in the covered mail box of the spice merchant Androble.

Seventeen years later to the day, Papa Canty opened up the newpaper to admire the latest ad for his drapery shop, when his eyes were snared by the photo of pale skinned, blue eyes young man with golden hair. Ah, the old man sighed as he stared into the still familiar face of his abandoned son. Eager to discover what accolades were about to be lavished upon Heathrow, Papa slid his spectacles from his forehead to his bulbus nose, and leaned over the article.

But he never finished the article. His daughters found him slumped over the table, the paper clutched in his fists hours after his heart attack. Prying the crumpled article from her beloved father's fists, the youngest sister smoothed the photo, pieced the split halves of the narrative together and shook her head.

"Shame that Heathrow didn't have the brains to match his good looks. Here he murders his father to pay off his loan shark bills, and then tells all to the first pretty woman he meets."

"Didn't you have a few moments with him in the pantry just after his fathers death?"

"Yes Josiah. His money was as good as anyone's; but the reporter I sold the story too paid even more." She sighed and stroked her father's head. "Father thought he was always such a pretty boy; I'd had hopes to introduce him as my husband to be."

.........dhole

Ginger said...

I had no clue, so I googled it. But I won't cheat and tell.

Laura Martone said...

I didn't know you googled, Ginger! Ah, the things you learn.

Oh, and thanks for not cheating... I'll reveal it on Friday. :-)