I have a game I play every now and again when I’m feeling bereft of ideas and creativity: I write ten first lines.**
I don’t need to think of anything beyond a first line that would make me go, “hmmm, I want to read this.”
Then I look at my lines, and see if anything sparks. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. If I do end up writing something, the chances are pretty high that I won’t even use that original first line. It doesn’t even have to be a good first line. It doesn’t matter – it served its purpose simply by springboarding me into a pool of imagination.
While cleaning up this weekend, I found a page with an exercise from 2014 (possibly? there’s no date.) so, here they are, just to give you an example of what I do.
# The pigeons were the first ones we noticed, lining the edges of the city buildings like feathered sentinels
# Every year the girls would nominate a trickster to fight on their side, and they would dress him in silk and pearls and rub kohl about his eyes.
# We came back to earth after the Long Season, our harpoon-ships empty.
# Seduction in Alien Biology: How to start a revolution using sex.
# Today is an important day – no fairs or public holidays, no saints or martyrs, no revolutions started.
# We left Cacophony to sell dreams on The Long Road.*
# The last star went out today, though the world is still spinning
# It is my sister’s job and mine to stamp down the grapes for the Oneiric wines.
# I fell in love with him over email; his OKcupid profile having neglected to mention the missing arm. Or the extra wing.
As it turns out, the highlighted sentence did actually prompt a short story, and the opening line *almost* stayed. The Story begins so:
We left Cacophony to gather dreams on the Long Road. It was decemberish and the light was fading so the pilgrims were all wrapped up in constellations made out of wires and lights, and the sound of their plainsong moaned down the wide barren stones of the Long Road. We travelled behind them in a caravan drawn by three black manticores, their teeth pulled and their eyes put out. It was the easiest way to keep them docile.
Now, I think that any of those prompts in the hands of different writers are going to produce uniquely different stories. So instead of giving a single prompt for June for #12months12stories, feel free to use one of those. (If you decide to use Cacophony. I ask that you *not* use my exact words, thanks 😉 )
And remember, the point of 12months12stories is to write AND SUB a short story every month. Do not self-reject. We talked about this.
Get writing. And please, if you write a story (and especially if you sell it) let me know so we can celebrate.
** (You’ll notice there are only 9 here, I got lazy)