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:star: :star: :star: NEW VIDEO!  Planning vs Not Planning youtu.be/IbjqtyKJCAM


When I'm looking through books in a brick and mortar store, I flip to the middle of a book for some reason and then put it on the shelf as if I ever had any intention of buying it (I don't know what compels me to buy a book anymore, to be honest).  HOWEVER...

When I am here at deviantART, our supercool scrolling thumb feature allows me to see the first sentence of a story and make the determination on whether or not I want to continue reading.  That said... I don't read much around here.  

Why?

Boy, rhetoric is fun.  We know why.

I don't judge a book by its cover but goddamn I will judge a story by its first line.  It's called a "hook" for a reason.  No one wants to read your story if your opening sentence is

She heard a bird chirp outside her window; slowly, she opened her eyes and yawned, the winged animal acting as her alarm clock.

Nothing there to compel me to continue.  Next.


I am a salmon.  If you don't reel me in, you don't get to eat.  Get it?


What does it take to hook someone in?

Suggestions I've found:
:bulletred:  Use strong verbs (grammar.about.com/od/grammarfa…).
:bulletred:  Show your subject.
:bulletred:  Keep it short.
:bulletred:  Be specific.  
:bulletred:  Be dynamic.
:bulletred:  Move the plot.
(source:  www.pennyfletcher.com/index.ph…)

For a hook to be effective, it should do at least one of the following:
:bulletblue:  appeal to the readers’ emotions
:bulletblue:  raise questions about what will happen
:bulletblue:  reveal something that isn’t anticipated
:bulletblue:  indicate that something is about to change
(source:  thewritingplace.wordpress.com/…)


Some of my favorite opening lines from my own work:
Chocolate never meant to hurt anyone. -- Nanowrimo 2009
I had sex with Rob for the first time on Thanksgiving. -- raspil.deviantart.com/art/I-Fo…
Zeke lifted Nina’s dress up off over her head. -- FFM 10
Big Ron held a locker key in his hand.   -- raspil.deviantart.com/art/The-…


Those use some (but not all) of the suggestions listed above.  Not all of my opening lines from my other stories follow the suggestions and could have been revised and might in the future if I choose to move forward with them.  But these hooked me in to old stories I wrote years/months ago.  I'm still learning, just like all of you.


So what's the prompt already?!

Glad you asked.  

Write 12 opening lines using the suggestions above.  
Then take one of those opening lines and write a story.
Save the rest for another time.  You'll thank yourself then.
No more than 2500 words.  Any genre, any POV.  
Due at the end of the month.  Send the finished piece in a note here or at my main page.


Why 12?

Practice.  It's all about practice.  You can keep the other 11 to yourself if you don't want to share them; it's up to you.  Besides, everything at this group is built on the honor system.  I can't make you do anything.  You have to want to do it.  If that means you just do the one to satisfy the prompt requirements or you do yourself a favor and do the rest, it's up to you and your dedication to your continued improvement as a writer.


But what about characters?  Setting?  Theme?  Derp!

Use pronouns.  Be vague if you have to.  I never said this was a one-shot deal where you had to get it right the first time.  Don't overthink things that don't need to be overthought.  Start somewhere.  Read the recommended links below and craft it together.  Concentrate on the first sentence first.  Concentrate on words you want to get across and create a story around it.  Try something new.  Push yourself.  If you're freaking out at this, YOU'RE DOING IT RIGHT.

I'm here if you need me.

Recommended reading:
lmgtfy.com/?q=how+to+write+a+g…
americanbookreview.org/100Best…
www.stylist.co.uk/life/the-bes…
www.writersdigest.com/editor-b…

Here are my 12 (I came up with 24 just to be safe): raspil.deviantart.com/art/12-F…

:star:  theWrittenRevolution featured Scream and Word-Smiths this month -- thewrittenrevolution.deviantar….  Show both groups some community love :love:
Add a Comment:
 
:icondibs-new-beginnings:
Dibs-New-Beginnings Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013  Student Writer
This may be slightly random, but my favorite first line from one of my favorite series, Uglies, is:

"The early summer sky was the colour of cat vomit. Of course, Tally thought, you'd have to feed your cat only salmon-flavoured cat food for a while, to get the pinks just right."

It was just so off the wall, I was compelled to continue, haha.
Reply
:iconraspil:
raspil Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2013   Writer
please do. make sure you join the group first in order to have your story/stories be considered for the gallery. :D
Reply
:icontwistedalyx:
TwistedAlyx Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I know I look like a bum because I'm super inactive because of [insert excuse here], but I just wanted to let you know that I really appreciate you creating these writing resource banks for us! I always like the articles and things you link us up to. :) And I do use them, and I am working on some ScreamPrompts. You'll see them at some point.
Reply
:iconraspil:
raspil Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2013   Writer
no worries! if i was going to be a total hard-ass, i'd delete each prompt after the deadline went by and no one would have a chance to try them out ever! that would be silly. these things take time, life takes a bite out of us every now and then, no bigs. thanks for getting in touch with me and updating me on your progress, i'm here if you ever have something to say.
Reply
:icontwistedalyx:
TwistedAlyx Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I keep all of them in a Word doc on my computer so that I can look at them even when I don't have internet. And haha I don't mistake you for a real hardass. If you didn't care, you wouldn't push us. And I wouldn't care what you thought if you didn't push us. (Which is why all my favorite profs are always the "scary" ones.) I appreciate knowing you're there.

And, hey, right back at you! We all need a friend sometimes. You know where to find me. :)
Reply
:iconnanali13:
nanali13 Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2013  Student General Artist
I could just wait until a fisherman catches you, and you are sold at a supermarket. :)
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:iconraspil:
raspil Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2013   Writer
ha. i like it.
Reply
:iconmuertomushroom:
MuertoMushroom Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013   Writer
Holy moly, this prompt is like pulling teeth. I'm up to five good opening lines, convinced none of them are good, and it's like physically painful doing this, even though I know strong hooks are one of the cardinal rules of good writing.

Great prompt, Raspil.
Reply
:iconraspil:
raspil Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013   Writer
you will make it through. you can do it. like i told someone else around here of the 24 i came up with... i'm not using any of them! i had to use something else that was better than what was on the list.

do you want to send me what you have now? i'm curious to see what you've got so far. maybe we can storm something out.
Reply
:iconmuertomushroom:
MuertoMushroom Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013   Writer
I would have been down with that, sorry. I just started new medication (antidepressant, anti-anxiety) and it's been, uh, difficult to get anything done.
Reply
:iconsurrealcachinnation:
SurrealCachinnation Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2013   Writer
Sweet video.

And I think I'm going to use ALL the starters I come up with... one for every prompt from you this year, assuming there are around twelve, and barring any prompts that require a specific opening.

Mind if I message them to you for approval and/or suggestions to improve them? (I only have six so far, but hopefully I'll have more by the time you reply to this.)
Reply
:iconraspil:
raspil Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2013   Writer
you can send them to me whenever you're ready.
Reply
:iconsurrealcachinnation:
SurrealCachinnation Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2013   Writer
Sweet. Thanks. :D
Reply
:icontelempathicangel:
telempathicangel Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2013
Oh this is frustrating! And intriguing... and again, frustrating. So far I have three first lines... and three ideas that have spawned from them... they are now frolicking like rabbits in my head. Only nine more to go!
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:iconraspil:
raspil Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2013   Writer
i would say that is a good start for sure.
Reply
:iconsmadams:
SMAdams Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I must officially say, I am frustrated! Lol. Though it is to be expected, I think I have rewritten my list like 10 times because I didn't like the last set.

Thanks for the challenge!
Reply
:iconraspil:
raspil Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2013   Writer
as weird as this sound... you're welcome!

/don't feel too bad, i wrote 24 of them and i'm not using any of them after all. i ended up coming up with something else that i'm going to use.
Reply
:iconsmadams:
SMAdams Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Same here. I think they all just led me to the one I am using now. Haha. Oh boy. This shall be interesting.
Reply
:iconfotomademoiselle:
fotomademoiselle Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
I've finally finished my list of sentences. Would you take a look at them and give me your thoughts? I think I know which one I'm going to use for my story...a plot is forming in my head....but I would like your opinion on how my list is in general. If you have time, here it is: [link] :meow:
Reply
:iconraspil:
raspil Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013   Writer
i checked them out -- if you want to talk more about them we can discuss them over there.
Reply
:iconfotomademoiselle:
fotomademoiselle Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you!!
Reply
:iconmerrak:
merrak Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Hobbyist
Thank you for this :thumbsup:

The first exercise is a great idea. As a bonus, I also now have a better hook for my novel.
Reply
:iconraspil:
raspil Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2013   Writer
super fantastic!! :highfive:
Reply
:icontravelgirlxx:
travelgirlxx Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013
So excited for this!!! So happy to have found y'all via #theWrittenRevolution!! Almost done with my first sentences! :D
Reply
:iconraspil:
raspil Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013   Writer
i'm happy, too!
Reply
:iconcrimsonthrenody:
CrimsonThrenody Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013
I believe this is just what I need to get the ink flowing in my veins again! :love:
Reply
:iconraspil:
raspil Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013   Writer
awesome!
Reply
:iconglassperegrine:
GlassPeregrine Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013
This is a great prompt, but damn it's gonna be hard to keep it under 2500. I had a great plot for this one that's already ballooned to 5000, and still needs an ending. That's what I get for not practicing enough.
Reply
:iconraspil:
raspil Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013   Writer
practice helps, definitely. planning will set you free.
Reply
:iconglassperegrine:
GlassPeregrine Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013
True, but even the best laid plans can take unexpected turns. Or require a far less complicated plot.
Reply
:iconraspil:
raspil Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013   Writer
alright, at the risk of sounding like a bitch, do you want to keep making excuses to me or do you want some real help?
Reply
:iconglassperegrine:
GlassPeregrine Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013
:?It's all good, but I think I missed something here. First things first, that was a joke about my usual weakness of over-complicating my plot lines, and thus needing more work on my short prose planning. I didn't reject anything you said, and I sure as hell wasn't making any excuses for myself. The other other thing is, I don't remember asking for help like some forum junkie. If nothing else, I'd think you'd be proud that instead of that, I made a joke and got back to work like a good little writer.

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but I kind of get the feeling you actually miss your forum arguments. :lmao:
Reply
:iconraspil:
raspil Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013   Writer
well, here's where I'm coming from:

knowing there was a 2500 word max, why write double that? why waste your time that way? why waste the words? you're just going to have to cut that back plus you still have an ending to write and you don't know what that's going to be. do you know how to write effective endings?

there has to be a mindset in place when there is a word count involved, just like anything else with writing, no matter what the element is (character, setting, theme, etc). waste is a thief. don't do this to yourself.

i don't know what jokes are on the internet that don't involve photos. i take words at face value.

try not to be insulted by the things i say because it is not my intention to insult; if you know me at all at this point, I have a very low tolerance for bullshit and excuses. i know it's hard sometimes for people to not be offended by how i talk to them but you did make two excuses in your last response as if you don't have control over what you're doing. was that the joke?

True, but even the best laid plans can take unexpected turns.
are you or are you not in control of what you're writing?

Or require a far less complicated plot.
who said complicated plots are "better" plots? make it easy on yourself if you're already having trouble. this is practice, not for a pulitzer.

you actually miss your forum arguments. :lmao:
honestly, i don't. i like discussions but it's hard to discuss things when i am talking to someone who isn't being honest or thinks "jokes" can mask insecurity.
Reply
:iconglassperegrine:
GlassPeregrine Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013
There are very few things in the world that insult me anymore. Life's too short to allow myself to be insulted. Instead, I make brief attempts at levity that sometimes work. I thought I was being humorous, but that's clearly not how it was received and I'm sorry that me poking fun at my faults somehow got under your skin. I'm sorry you got the impression I was making excuses for my writing failures. Unless you tell me otherwise, I'll keep my joking to a minimum with you. I don't do the photo joke thing well, either.

I usually write much longer pieces, because condensing is something I falter on. I got so caught up in writing, that I forgot the limit. I'm still going to use the words, I'm still going to finish the story. My words are never wasted, even if their only purpose is to teach me how to write better. And I'll write again, attempting to avoid my usual pitfall of getting lost in my writing. At least, when it comes to word count limits. I'm used to folding complicated layers into my plots, which unfortunately tends to balloon the word count. This is something I'm attempting to limit, because I know I do it too much.
Reply
:iconraspil:
raspil Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013   Writer
Unless you tell me otherwise, I'll keep my joking to a minimum with you.
bless your heart.

i have nothing else to say because you're not hearing anything. you can argue i'm doing the same, but again, i'm not the one making excuses for what i'm doing. you don't see it that way, and that is a shame. you don't think you're wasting words. kill your ego.
Reply
(2 Replies)
:iconpinkymccoversong:
PinkyMcCoversong Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013  Professional Writer
This is a fantastic prompt, and I LOVED your video. Damn, girl. You know how to make me want to write AND eat all the things!
Reply
:iconraspil:
raspil Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013   Writer
Good deal. Glad to know I'm doing something well.
Reply
:iconbladebites:
BladeBites Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
"Chocolate never meant to hurt anyone."
I love that, I really do. :heart:
Reply
:iconraspil:
raspil Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013   Writer
Thank you :hug:
Reply
:iconbladebites:
BladeBites Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Very welcome!~
Reply
:iconshadowphoenix-916:
ShadowPhoenix-916 Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I watch the group, not a member yet, I don't think, but I'm currently 6 for 12 and would like to participate
Reply
:iconraspil:
raspil Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013   Writer
i have sent you an invite! :D
Reply
:iconshadowphoenix-916:
ShadowPhoenix-916 Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you. I've lurked for a while, and I need to get my creativity back on track.
Reply
:iconvampiresenshi513:
VampireSenshi513 Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013
Oh this is going to be a fun one XD
Reply
:iconraspil:
raspil Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013   Writer
are you a member of this group?
Reply
:iconvampiresenshi513:
VampireSenshi513 Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013
I certainly think I am...
Reply
:iconraspil:
raspil Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013   Writer
let me double check

my bad! sorry for missing you.
Reply
:iconvampiresenshi513:
VampireSenshi513 Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013
It's okay, I don't participate much XD
Reply
:iconraspil:
raspil Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013   Writer
think you might with this one?
Reply
:iconvampiresenshi513:
VampireSenshi513 Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013
I'm already done with my 12, and am working on the story part of it.
Reply
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