Friday, May 21, 2010

First Line Challenge

Are you ready to get your creative juices flowing?

I'll give you the first sentence or passage 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 Carrie by Stephen King.)

Okay, are you ready? Here we go!

All this happened, more or less. The war parts, anyway, are pretty much true...

16 comments:

David Jace said...

All this happened, more or less. The war parts, anyway, are pretty much true...

The technician's voice faded out as he noticed the look on the general's face. He was surveying the decimated basement laboratory and the prototype soldier standing, no floating, in the middle of the wreckage. Miles mentally cursed himself. He'd still not managed to fix that terrain-synchronization system.

"What do you mean 'true'?"

"Well, the actually 'person' is imaginary, as you can see. Well, it isn't actually imaginary; it's a cognizant gas hybrid that-"

"Spare me the technical jargon, Miles. Just give me the idea."

"Oh, ok. Well, this soldier is a figment of imagination combined with real-world equipment. The rounds are real, the communications equipment is real, but even the gun is less 'real' than I think you would currently define it. I'm sure you can see the advantages."

The prototype soldier flickered slightly as a power cable sparked nearby, but otherwise remained standing at attention, under inspection by the General.

"And it trashed this whole lab in how many minutes?"

"Three point two, Sir. I forgot to set a couple of parameters on the test this morning. I'm sure I can have him ready for more testing and government consideration in just a few months-"

"Pack him up. I'll take him."

"You- what?"

"I'll take him. Send the bill to the US Army; we've got a new brand of soldier."

bunnygirl said...

"All this happened, more or less. The war parts, anyway, are pretty much true..."

"So there really was a lab, with scientists who were--"

Cassie cut Belinda off with a wave of her hand. "Please. It makes me sick every time I think about it." She pushed a box of stale Ritz crackers toward her. "Have some more. It's not like they'll be any better tomorrow."

Belinda shoved a stray lock of hair off her face. "Sorry to keep pestering you about it. With all the crazy rumors since the pandemic, it's hard to know what to believe." She dug a cracker out of the box and chewed thoughtfully. "It's gotten to where I don't believe much of anything any more. But you were really there?"

"Yes." Cassie went over to the grill and poked the coals, wondering if there was any way to end this conversation. Friends had died in that final battle at the lab complex, and the ones who survived she hadn't seen since.

It was her fault, of course, that she hadn't seen them. She and Jay had headed out into the countryside, searching for a place to call their own after a year of scrapping to survive in the ravaged city. They had found their utopia, but now that was over, too. "Not believing anything is probably for the best."

The words came out more bitter than she intended, but Belinda didn't seem to notice. "I agree. Gotta keep your chin up. Stay strong, and all that."

"Sure." Cassie poked the coals again, sending up a shower of sparks that danced like miniature fireflies against the darkness. "Hold on any way you can."

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is based on my self-pubbed novel, Steal Tomorrow, which is also serialized on the website.

Elaine AM Smith said...

... although the blanket of stealth and the social engineering which straight jacketed the populace into submission is the story you won’t find written here: it is whispered in the dark and crushed under the unrelenting boot of the authorities.

Candy said...

Those years I remember clearly because they were the best. You wouldn't think that, would you? All the noise and blood and dying, but it was the companionship, the awful drama, the chance to be a hero, if only to yourself. for overcoming the terror and charging forward when every nerve wanted to run the other way. I was Somebody then, I really was Somebody.

Oh, that's not what you want to hear? You ask about the films I acted in and then directed? How I became one of the world's richest men? And now one of the oldest. That's what you want to write about?

But the war years are what counted. That was the only part of my life that was real ; the rest was just "poof". Please, let me tell you about it... When I was a real man.

What you want to wheel me in for supper.They'll return for another interview? OK push away, Nurse Helen. Y'know in the army we ate some really wierd stuff...

David Jace said...

VERY cool, Candy! I love it!! :D

What a great character beginning...

Faldur said...

All this happened, more or less. The war parts, anyway, are pretty much true, though no one believes in gryphons anymore. They don't know how fortunate they are not to see them, because they only come to aid our people in times of greatest danger. We have enjoyed a long peace since the Gryphon War, but I think the story still needs to be told. We must remind ourselves what we paid for this peace, and protect it with our honor and faith.
I saw a gryphon, twice. Once when I was alive and once when I died. It isn't what you think it is, death. I can hardly describe it now, for there are no words to explain that healing peace in which warriors become whole again. I wanted to stay so badly, and sometimes at night I dream about going back, but the gryphon wouldn't let me. It wasn't my time.

Laura Martone said...

Thanks, everyone! So many different directions from one little line...

So, does anyone have a guess as to the novel?

David Jace said...

I'm sure I could Google it, but other than that, I've no idea. Then again, I try not to read things that are true!! (Even if just the war parts. ;) )

Candy said...

It's not "All Quiet on the Western Front" is it? Actually it's the only war book I can think of at the moment. Or then it could be the Civil war like "Gone with the Wind". Obviously I have no clue - Aw come on, Laura, tell us!

David Jace said...

Wait, Candy makes me think...

Is it The Killer Angels?

Laura Martone said...

Nope and nope, Candy.

Nope to you, too, David.

But good guesses all around!

The lines are from Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.'s Slaughterhouse-Five. The movie Back to School was on the other day - so I felt inspired to use a Vonnegut classic.

Candy said...

Thanks, Laura! Better than leaving us puzzled all week, eh David?

Candy said...

Thanks, Laura! Better than leaving us puzzled all week, eh David?

Candy said...

Why do it do that!!? Oh, well, double thanks doesn't hurt.

David Jace said...

Actually, I got impatient and googled it. :) Guess I'm in trouble for cheating, huh?

Laura Martone said...

Nope, David, I wouldn't accuse you of cheating. That's what Google's for!

And, Candy, double thanks never hurt anyone! So, thank you, thank you very much! :-)