Steal the First Sentence

One of my favorite tools in my writing bag of tricks is the steal the first sentence device.  Sometimes, when it is time to write and I don’t know what to write about, I will grab a random book, open to a random page, and let my eye fall on any sentence.

I write that sentence down, and then keep my hand moving, writing whatever comes through.  I will take my time forming the letters, so that my mind can have time to wander a bit.  I have unearthed many of my flash fiction pieces this way. 

Here is an example of a short one I wrote yesterday.  I also made some notes with ideas about continuing the story, but this piece of it is what came out first using this method:

About a month later, on a busy night, they called for a cab.  Ellen was tired of waiting, and she decided to start walking.  Eric said he would pick her up in the cab along their usual route.  Aunt Anna’s house was too far for walking.  It would have taken until Tuesday.  Ellen agreed and set out. 

Her mind was racing too fast to stand still.  She knew when she got like this that the only way to still her mind was to move her body.  Eric knew it too.  They had been together long enough that he had seen, first hand, what Ellen was like when her mind was caged.  She became like a lion in the zoo, pacing and getting nowhere. 

 

4 comments

  • Cheryl

    Cheryl

    Denise - One of the things that I know, but often forget, about your writing is that I need to take time and read it when I am alone, have time and it is quiet. I keep on trying to fit it in in a short space when my desk is cluttered and mind is also. That is definitely not the best way to take it in. You are such an incredibly talented person. I am so glad to have you as a part of my life.

    Denise - One of the things that I know, but often forget, about your writing is that I need to take time and read it when I am alone, have time and it is quiet.

    I keep on trying to fit it in in a short space when my desk is cluttered and mind is also. That is definitely not the best way to take it in.

    You are such an incredibly talented person. I am so glad to have you as a part of my life.

  • Denise

    Denise

    Thanks Cheryl. I appreciate you valuing me and what I do. Thanks for reading along. You are treasure to me...

    Thanks Cheryl. I appreciate you valuing me and what I do. Thanks for reading along. You are treasure to me...

  • D

    D

    hi d, sounds like Ellen has shpilkes? the line in your story..."she became like a lion in a zoo, pacing and getting nowhere" took me on a head trip of sadness and depressive empathy for all caged animals. thanks for reading that to me the other day. it helped push me forward in finding a new apartment. found one and am now trying to get it together to make it happen. i'm looking forward to new stimuli... also, i love the exercise of grabbing a line from some arbitrary place and using it to stimulate writing... thanks

    hi d, sounds like Ellen has shpilkes?
    the line in your story..."she became like a lion in a zoo, pacing and getting nowhere" took me on a head trip of sadness and depressive empathy for all caged animals. thanks for reading that to me the other day. it helped push me forward in finding a new apartment. found one and am now trying to get it together to make it happen. i'm looking forward to new stimuli... also, i love the exercise of grabbing a line from some arbitrary place and using it to stimulate writing... thanks

  • Denise

    Denise

    Hey D, Shpilkes for sure! My heart breaks for caged animals too, and at the same time, I like to visit them at the zoo. Congratulations on finding a new place for yourself. I am excited for you! I am glad you like the steal the first sentence device. It comes in handy. Let me know how it goes when you try it for yourself. My best, Denise

    Hey D,
    Shpilkes for sure!
    My heart breaks for caged animals too, and at the same time, I like to visit them at the zoo.
    Congratulations on finding a new place for yourself. I am excited for you!
    I am glad you like the steal the first sentence device. It comes in handy. Let me know how it goes when you try it for yourself.
    My best,
    Denise

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