dawn_felagund (dawn_felagund) wrote in silwritersguild,
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October Challenge: Start to Finish

SWG Challenge October 2019 Start to Finish

Spend even five minutes reading advice on how to write powerful fiction, and you will likely encounter the concept of the hook: a first line or lines crafted to snare your reader into reading your story. Whether you believe in this advice or not, there are definitely books with first lines that leave the reader intrigued, puzzled, or awestruck, fitting overtures to some of the most powerful, profound novels written in English.

For this month's challenge, choose one of the famous first lines from the list below and use it to start your story. If you are creating a fanwork other than writing, you may use one of the first lines to inspire your fanwork. Challenge entries are due by November 10 in order to receive a stamp. As always, late entries are welcome but do not receive stamps.

Since you are using another author's first line, please credit the source in your story notes. Full challenge guidelines can be found on our website.

Prompt List

  • "We slept in what had once been the gymnasium." ~ Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
  • "She was the first to arrive where it seemed the wind no longer exhaled." ~ Ishmael Beah, Radiance of Tomorrow
  • "It was a pleasure to burn." ~ Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
  • "In my time, I have been called many things: sister, lover, priestess, wise-woman, queen." ~ Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Mists of Avalon
  • "There was no possibility of taking a walk that day." ~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
  • "I lost an arm on my last trip home." ~ Octavia Butler, Kindred
  • "Mother died today." ~ Albert Camus, The Stranger
  • "A green and yellow parrot, which hung in a cage outside the door, kept repeating over and over: 'Allez vous-en! Allez vous-en! Sapristi! That’s all right!'" ~ Kate Chopin, The Awakening
  • "When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold." ~ Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games
  • "The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills, resting." ~ Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage
  • "All day, the colors had been those of dusk, mist moving like a water crea­ture across the great flanks of mountains possessed of ocean shadows and depths." ~ Kiran Desai, The Inheritance of Loss
  • "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." ~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
  • "I am an invisible man." ~ Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
  • "Through the fence, between the curling flower spaces, I could see them hitting." ~ William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury
  • "In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since." ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
  • "There was once a young man who wished to gain his Heart’s Desire." ~ Neil Gaiman, Stardust
  • "It was love at first sight." ~ Joseph Heller, Catch-22
  • "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." ~ Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • "They were able to guess his age, but had more trouble determining which part of the world he came from." ~ Arnaldur Indriðason, Arctic Chill
  • "Imagine a ruin so strange it must never have happened." ~ Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible
  • "I'll make my report as if I told a story, for I was taught on my homeworld that truth is a matter of the imagination." ~ Ursula K. LeGuin, The Left Hand of Darkness
  • "It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love." ~ Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera
  • "My suffering left me sad and gloomy." ~ Yann Martel, The Life of Pi
  • "124 was spiteful." ~ Toni Morrison, Beloved
  • "When I closed my eyes, the scent of the wind wafted up toward me." ~ Haruki Murakami, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
  • "Nobody ever warned me about mirrors, so for many years I was fond of them, and believed them to be trustworthy." ~ Helen Oyeyemi, Boy, Snow, Bird
  • "It was night again." ~ Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind
  • "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." ~ Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
  • "All this happened, more or less." ~ Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
  • "You better not never tell nobody but God." ~ Alice Walker, The Color Purple
  • "I'm pretty much fucked." ~ Andy Weir, The Martian
  • "I had the story, bit by bit, from various people, and, as generally happens in such cases, each time it was a different story." ~ Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome
Tags: challenge
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