Sunday, May 2, 2010

Ten First Lines

by Susan Berger

These first lines come from the SCBWI Writer’s Day held on Saturday April 10, 2010. Some are examples given by the speakers. Some were available to sale and/or perusal at the event.

1. The morning after the noted child prodigy Colin Singleton graduated from high school and got dumped for the nineteenth time by a girl named Katherine, he took a bath.

2. I sold my cell phone to the devil. In my defense it had been a really crappy day.
(I immediately went to the library and checked out this book.)

3. “Where oh where…”wondered Ophie Peeler, looking around her big almost empty bedroom, “did mom

4. JUNE 21, 1895 Bombay, India. “Please tell me that’s not going to be part of my birthday dinner this evening.” I am staring into the hissing face of a cobra. A surprisingly pink tongue slithers in and out of a cruel mouth while an Indian man whose eyes are the blue of blindness inclines his head toward my mother and explains in Hindi that cobras make very good eating.

5. Miguelito wiggled and jiggled his loose tooth until one night it fell out. “Yay! Mi dente my tooth,” he said and put it under his pillow. Soon Miguelito fell asleep.

6. In a House on a hill there’s a wild little child not ready to close her eyes. She burrows in blankets and talks to her toys and listens to lullabies.

7. Many places make a home – a heap of twigs, a honeycomb. A castle with a tower or two, an aerie with a birds-eye view.

8. See the piggy, see the puddle, see the piggy in the middle of the muddy little puddle. See her dwaddle, see Her diddle, in the muddy muddy middle. See her waddle, plump and little, in the very merry middle.

9. In a wee little house in a wee little hole, lived a wee little mouse and a wee little mole.

10. In a tree, in a nest, on a gusty spring morn, a speckled egg cracked, and a small bird was born.


  1. I know number four! I know number four!

    Smarty Pants

  2. I recognize #1 from An Abundance of Katherines... none of the others though.

  3. Thanks smarty pants. and thanks Elizabeth. For some odd reason line 10 did not print completely:
    10. In a tree, in a nest, on a gusty spring morn, a speckled egg cracked, and a small bird was born.

  4. How cute and interesting these are. They certainly grab the readers.

  5. This was cool to read them one after the other. Like scanning a bookshelf, but better than making decisions based on cover art.
    thanks for sharing!

  6. Sue

    These are terrific! I love first lines. They make me want to write something wonderful.


  7. Thanks Lee. That is a high compliment coming from you. Shari, you have already written something wonderful. I loved Shoe Cat. Please free free to hurry up and write more wonderful things


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