50 first lines


Some of my friends started doing a 50 first lines thing last night while I was asleep (wooh time zones!) and I wanted to join in, but since they’re now asleep (wooh time zones!), I can only guess what the rules were.

Using my amazing powers of deduction, I think we’re meant to write 50 first lines of 50 stories.

This is a cool idea, I thought, and opened up a new document.

And hour later, with 10 lines, I went: this is a hard idea. But fun.

I’ll keep adding to them because I’m hoping all this random stuff will spark something today, but so far I have this, and I can see some serious potential in one.


  1. Grifter’s Tongue is a long strip of land – a sand bar, really – where the fur seals gather in their hundreds, lying in wait for the annual story-telling that will choose them a summer Queen.
  2. The Great Angels in the museum had not moved for years, so when display #394 disappeared, everyone assumed it had been stolen.
  3. The new head was a good fit.
  4. The house was covered with brown paper, and sounded like a drum full of bees.
  5. Emmeline opened the tail-box and ran her fingers along the desiccated remains of her infant limb.
  6. Bumblers never stopped, not even for angels in the road, which made them the only choice for taking caravans through the desert of one million nameless gods.
  7. Falling is the fastest way to get anywhere, as all dreamers know, even when they forget.
  8. It was the third time Alfred had to get his smartphone exorcised, and this time he was going diy – he had the salt, a toothpick crucifix, and some step-by-step Latin ritual he’d downloaded from Instructables.
  9. We were teeth, and that was all we were supposed to remember when she sent us to war.
  10. Even when I led the boy away from his body, his hand was curiously warm in mine.

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