Curiouser and Curiouser: Notable Entries in the “First Line” Contest


Many thanks to all the folks who submitted to the “First Line” Contest! To recall: We asked the general public to concoct the opening line to an Elizabeth Crowne story. We have selected a winner, who shall be announced on Feb. 20. In the meantime, we were impressed by the range and cleverness of our contestants, and we figured we would celebrate some of that wordsmithing here.

(And if you didn’t have time to come up with a good sentence, don’t fret—there’ll be another chance to submit in coming months. Stay tuned!).

And now, some favorites:

We particularly loved these suspenseful starters, which proved both open-ended and nail-biting:

“The sound of my beating, but weary heart could be heard over the crashing sounds of thunder.” – Lady Lovecraft

“I’d told them that it was a mistake from the very beginning, but of course they didn’t listen.” – E.C. Stout

“As his eyes opened up and adjusted to the world, he knew his biggest mistake was being alive.” – Michael Weaver

Some authors offered specifics, which made us hungry for more:

“She turned in her chair quickly at the sound behind her, making her long hair wrap across her face like the glove of a murderer just as the garrote pulled tightly around her neck bringing about her death.” – Carl Conrad

“As if living life wasn’t difficult enough, Poor Niko had the hardest year of his life going through Hell as God and didn’t know that he was eliminated from existence pretty much.” – Mustang Sally

“Anachronisms aside, she was here—now—and no out of context pondering would remove the weight of the decision she’d just made; nor the consequences that would follow next because if it.” – Joey Robert Parks

A couple of first lines set deliciously macabre moods:

“The bark seeped off the willow as if a serrated palm peeler were being used to find its inner core.” – Jim May

“I’m writing in this journal to chronicle the events that led me to this unimaginable situation, with the remote chance that someone, someday, will find this and the truth will out.” – Michael Mortimer

We have a particular affection for the land of “pura vida,” and so were delighted to read this:

“Of the town of Quepos was the armpit of Costa Rica, Rosa’s Bar would be the sweat gland.” – Loman

This one was not a “first line” so much as a first paragraph, but we adored it all the same:

“‘Ms.Crowne! Ms.Crowne! Did you miss me?’ The sultry voice sounded familiar; the eyes, not so much. And their penetrating gaze didn’t look human at all.” – Oana Nicolae

And, perhaps most creative of all:

“Three cheers good people of this weary, wobbling planet, War is over once and forever, pih-too-wee, for good, and the moment we’ve waited an ugly, aching epoch for, Everlastin’, Mother-Lovin’, Sweet-Stinkin’, Bone-a-fide Peace. [insert dumb-founded gasp and pee-dribbling reaction here].” – Tender Bastard

One thought on “Curiouser and Curiouser: Notable Entries in the “First Line” Contest

  1. Pingback: Stop the Presses! Announcing the Winner of the First Line Contest |

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