[Write On Wednesday] Making Good From Bad

First lines.

They can be the inspiration of something great. Or they can be the omen of bad things to come.

We all know that clichés are one of the things to avoid as a writer. Lines like “It was a dark and stormy night” sounds like a pretty good mood setter to a beginner writer…well, maybe not even to them.

But suppose you use a bad first line on purpose? Suppose the entire point is to take that bad first line and write a story around it that is…not as tacky? Or makes the reader forgive the first line or make it totally acceptable?

That’s your mission this week: take one of the supplied bad first lines and use it to tell a good story, one actually worth reading. Use your writing prowess to wrestle and reroute the initial impact of that first line into something that is an enjoyable read.

The Prompt

Here are a bunch of bad first lines. Choose one and see what kind of story YOU can tell.  

  • Every time she opens her mouth, I want to scream
  • There was no doubt: the flashing lights in the rear view mirror were for me.
  • I didn’t expect a naked woman (man) in my shower.
  • I remember thinking that there were worse ways to waste $5. But I was wrong. Very wrong.
  • If nothing she said previously had pushed me into therapy, I wouldn’t have predicted this last comment would have sent me there screaming.
  • I couldn’t see my left foot, which was scarier as I was staring right where it should be.
  • As good a writer as he was, Timothy couldn’t seem to finish his own suicide note.
  • As soon as he thought the moment couldn’t get any worse, Sally learned just why people say you should never even think that.
  • “Not too bad as far as first dates go,” Jacob thought as he put the girl’s heart in his freezer.
  • He knew that the hooker stole his wallet, he just didn’t know which hooker.
  • The operation had been a total success if you ignored the migraine headaches and that he needed to get custom sun glasses to cover the third eye.
  • She was the love of his life, even if he wasn’t hers any more. And he was going to win her back tonight.
  • “The fake severed finger in her martini was the last straw, the pranking would have to stop,” she thought until she recognized the ring.
  • The gravestone had spelled the name wrong and she couldn’t stop laughing, much to the annoyance of the other mourners.
  • “The women’s bathroom lines were too long,” she explained as she exited the stall and Tom stared.

Gary Zenker is a writer, a marketer, a game designer and co-wrote a book with his six-year-old son. He would love for you to share the stories you came up with, in the comments!

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