2019 Day 27 – Opening Line

How did you get on yesterday? Did you write a story?

Remember, set your own rules, and stick to them. If you miss a day, don’t try to catch up. Just keep moving forward!

The Prompt


Start your story with that line today.


So how’s it going this week? Are you tired or have you caught your second wind?

Are you desperate to get back to novel-writing? Or have you discovered a new love for the short form?

What parts of this month’s successes will you take forward into your other writing?

13 thoughts on “2019 Day 27 – Opening Line”

  1. September Day 27
    Never Tell Anyone Your Real Name
    I wrote 2500 words about a girl who wanted to start a new life. She wanted to move to a new area and reinvent herself. To test herself she booked on a week’s Retreat using her new name and her new ‘back story ‘. It was an interesting series of events with twists and turns.

  2. Okay this is really weird – the prompt that I used on Day 23 was to use the “opening line – never tell anyone your real name” and it appeared again today on Day 27. I scrolled back to Day 23 and found the picture as prompt and since I hadn’t seen it before I opted to use it rather than re-doing another prompt.

    Having said all that all I can say about what I did today was put words on paper – I wasn’t happy with what I wrote but I wrote. A picture may be worth a thousand words but I really struggled to get anywhere close to that. Somehow, looking at a picture blocks my ability to write.

  3. Never Tell Them You Name

    “Hey kid, never tell them your name.” He wore a fedora that hid his left eye and obscured the right one with a thick cloud of cigarette smoke, “I’m Agent Milktoast.”

    You could tell from his wiry build, that he was a well-trained assassin, just like he was going to instruct me to become. Assassin’s Inc. Special missions, all top secret, hush-hush stuff. When I was a kid, I’d watch the Secret Agent cartoons and dreamed that one day I’d be one of them. Dream come true.

    “What’s your name?” He asked looking at his clipboard.

    “Jason McKnight.” I answered dutifully which was followed by a quick jab to my jaw that brought me to my knees holding my swelling, bleeding jaw.

    “Never. Never. Never tell anyone your name.” He waved a threatening finger in my face.

    “But you asked.” I said in my defense.

    “Even me. Got it?” He squatted down to my eye level and with his cold colorless eyes hissed his a harsh whisper. “Got it?”

    I shook my head still rubbing my sore jaw. The impact of his strike was startling since I had learned karate and knew that the impact depended on the distance and angle of the strike. His powerful jab from less than three feet straight on indicated that I was lucky he did not have more distance to accelerate his blow which would have shattered my jaw. I knew this was going to be quite an apprenticeship.

    I managed to get to my feet, but he still had his icy stare aimed at my forehead. With a smirk of satisfaction, he nodded, “There are over a hundred ways to kill a man…or woman. When we are done with your training, you will be proficient at every one of them.”

    I nodded.

    “You will only obey me, but you will obey without question.” He paced around me as I stood in the dark room where shadows prevented me from seeing the walls clearly. I just sort of suspected their presence.

    “Yes sir.” I stood at attention, but there was another powerful blow to my abdomen this time that made me buckle.

    “Agent Milktoast is how you will address me.” He bent down so he spoke directly into my ear. “Sir? This isn’t the military.”

    “I thought you said, never tell them your name.” I grunted feeling as if my insides were on fire.

    “Yeah, but do you think Agent Milktoast is really my name?” He snickered and then straightened up. “You’ve got a lot to learn, Jason.”

    His voice echoed in the empty room.

    “I could Google your name and find out a lot of information about you. You’d be an easy target, of no use to us.” He took a cigarette out of his pack and lit it sending a plume of smoke that covered his face. It was as if he was purposely trying to conceal his facial features so I could not identify him, but that cold, icy stare was something I don’t think I’d ever forget. As I cleared my head trying to rid myself of the excruciating pain, I looked up and he had disappeared as if he simply stepped out of my visual picture. I took a few unsteady steps still unsure of the parameters of the room. Shadows were everywhere as the light source was not evident to me. My fear was that he would appear to deliver another blow, but this one could very well kill or disable me. Cautiously I proceeded forward.

    “Agent Milktoast.” I called out with grave trepidation.

    No answer. I called again, the same. There was a buzzing sound that startled me. What was this, another trap or trick? I took a deep breath, not sure of what to expect next.

    The strange dark room disappeared as I opened my eyes and shut off the alarm on my nightstand next to my bed.

  4. I’m going to assume that you hadn’t intended to re-use a Prompt and went on a search. I found a prompt (I think it shows up on Day 23 if you scroll down this page) I hadn’t seen before – one using a picture and plan to write through it today.

  5. Chose to write about this opening line repeatedly going round in a young girls head as she panicked about leaving the house. A back story emerged and it moved along well but I’m stuck trying yo end it in a convincing way!
    I’m loving short stories but my longest is only 1300. I need to claim more time for my writing.

  6. Ended up with two versions for this prompt – one tilted towards a mystery, another towards a fantasy. Thanks for the prompt, Julie!

  7. I am a writer submitting to the daily prompt, but I’m not sure where to submit. This seems to be the place.

    You must not know my name
    May 27, 2019

    “You must not know my name.” He said as he handed me the slip of paper and disappeared back into the crowd from which he appeared. The paper he handed me was a simple piece torn from a loose leaf binder, the writing scrawled in simple blue pen.

    It was a simple statement in half cursive half printed handwriting, a simple sentence stating boldly, “You are not who you think you are.”

    My heart began to beat noticeably, pushing forcefully against my rib cage and I struggled to draw a breath. Even with warning from a cryptic text I had received an hour beforehand, I was completely shaken by the whole experience. As an avid reader of espionage thrillers, I now felt as if I had been thrust into the center of one of these plots.

    You are not who you think you are.

    Having spent my life on full tilt gear as a wild cat investor, making deals and pulling off so many creative negotiations, I must admit I’ve lived on the edge most of my life, but now this ripple had become a tsunami in my life. Under the simple sentence was a website. Sitting drinking my daily cup of Starbucks, my laptop open at my favorite table overlooking the river under an oak tree, I felt the urge to access the website. What would it reveal to me? My whole life was lived on my planner, there were appointments and obligations written in the blank spaces of the pages.

    You must not know my name. This simple statement repeatedly echoed in my head. What reason would he have for such anonymity? What reason would any of us have in this age of Orwellian electronic surveillance in keeping secrets? And yet there is this secret at this website. I had an appointment in an hour, so with this brief break, I begin to type the letters into my laptop.

    I hit enter. The screen goes black and blinks black and green. Suddenly a blur of characters scroll across the screen creating an eerie green glow. An artificial voice rises from my speakers. There appears a face. At first it appears as a blur of random characters and then the mouth and eyes form. The black empty space forms between, creating the appearance of eyes that seem to be able to look out at me. What have I done? What have I created? I have so many questions.

    “You are not who you think you are.” The voice speaks.

    “Who am I?” I ask as my hands tremble. I look around. There are all sorts of patrons sitting around me, but they are not paying attention to this dreadful voice speaking to me through my speaker.
    “We have been waiting for you.”

    “For what?” I find myself blurting out.

    “I will guide you on your journey. It will be incredible. You will see things beyond your imagination. It has been ordained.” The face began to disappear. Slowly I closed the lid on my laptop. I would wait for the next visitation. I was sure that it would not be long before this would happen.

    1. ‘client was a handsome old dame, in her forties’ Love it, imagine being a handsome old anything in your 40’s. Well done on the story. I’ve tried to write noir before, and I think you did it well here.

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