Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Opening Line Contest

I'm horrible with opening lines. No matter how clever I think I am, it's never clever enough. So I got to thinking, there's a lot of talent sitting in my peeps queue. Peeps mean resources, and resourcefulness is what I need. So here's what I was thinking I'd do. I'm going to give away a copy of Bum's Rush to the person who writes the best opening line for my book, That Girl. Not only that, if I use it, that person will get a mention in the acknowledgment section. Wow, huh? So read the following and come up with a better opening than it already has. Any takers?

I suppose I should put a time limit on this, lets say you have till next Tuesday, May 17th. This is my first contest so I don't want to complicate it.

That Girl, Chapter One

Time is no friend to the impatient, nor should it be wasted by idleness, for if one man wastes a second, so, too must we all. Thus sayeth Matthew Lukas Drako whose time, at present, was being wasted. I glanced at my watch and estimated, if I leave now I can be home in eight minutes. Still and all, it wasn’t a total waste of time, for in my left breast pocket, lying close to my heart, was what I’d come for, an envelope that could possibly save my life.

Just as I was about to make my move, I caught the movement of the restaurant door opening. Brilliant light shimmered in from the outside as someone entered the dimmed room. Even though the sky outside was overcast, I squinted from the glare.

Oh dear God in heaven. My heart did a screech and halt and somersaulted to my throat. She took my breath away. Her unblemished beauty in adulthood surpassed the loveliness of her youth. The last time I saw her was graduation, five years ago. Then her face had been round and fresh, her feet dancing in endless possibilities. Now she possessed a worldliness of innocence lost. She paused inside the door, racing my heart in a mind-dizzying rewind, back to second grade.

It was her first day in a new school. She was standing at the front of class dressed in a yellow dress with little white daisies. The teacher asked where she wanted to sit. She pointed at me and said, “I want to sit by the boy with the buggy eyes.” That day, I swore I was going to marry her someday.

Halle Winters will always be “that girl” for me. Memories from a time few people could remember filled my mind like an old, black and white TV flick obscured by snow. Even in old age when my mind was vacant with dementia and the shrill whine of my hearing aids sent dogs howling for cover, I would never forget.

Her eyes swept over the place in search of somebody and her scan didn’t slowed when she looked in my direction. Not that she could recognize me, I was no longer the boy with the buggy eyes.

Dressed as she was, in a white dress, she seemed to radiate light. She lifted a dainty hand and waved. Her graceful gait was the carriage of a person who had been a dancer all her life, Dancers don’t walk, they glide.

Pull yourself together, Drako. That’s a road you don’t want to go down, not again, not when you’re getting married in a couple of months. But renewed pangs were beckoning me back into a life as wondrous and magic as it had been painful and broken. I sighed, Garth Brooks had it right when he sang, “I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.” Yeah, first of all, there was never a dance, second, she was just a broken dream.

“Well, gentlemen,” I said. “I feel as if everything is going as planned. If there is no more discussion . . .”

I shook hands around the table, then grabbed the bill.
Don’t look at her, don’t look at her, I chanted with every step. Just a little ways to go and I’d be safely out the door. The powerful pull was magnetic, but I had to resist. I just couldn’t hazard a look at the girl who freshman year had laughed at me when I asked her out on a date. I paid the bill and headed out.

God help me, I don’t remember giving permission to my head as it turned and glanced over may shoulder. Jennifer, Halle’s BFF: Best Friend Forever, from high school waved, beckoning me over.

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  1. You have a few good lines in this piece that would work out well for a first line if you want to rearrange a few things for example: "Halle Winters will always be “that girl” for me." and go on from there,

    or you could take a tactic like: "I was on the verge of leaving with the envelop that could save my life in hand when she walked in placing an elaborate labyrinth over my perfectly planned escape."

    Best of luck to you.

  2. Off the top of my head, how about.....

    "Just when I thought I had everything nailed, totally in control of the situation, the past 'boomeranged' into the present. Standing in the doorway, Halle Winters was that still-resounding echo from long ago that caught me unawares and stopped me in my tracks...."

  3. That's what I'm talking about. These are great suggestions, thank you so much. Anyone else?

  4. Starting with "Pull yourself together Drako" could work out nicely :)

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  5. What a great idea! I like this for your first sentence: "In my left breast pocket, lying close to my heart, was what I’d come for, an envelope that could possibly save my life."

  6. I agree with Patricia.

    Either that or or some line about how sometimes when we are waiting we don't realize what we are waiting for until the universe thrusts it on us. He thought he was waiting for this business lunch to end-- but really he waited for her...??

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