First Lines

For the past 27 days, I’ve been posting the first line from each story of my collection on twitter, one line per day. It was interesting to see all of them together because I started seeing patterns in how I tend to start stories. The other thing I noticed was that for some stories I managed to get the hook into the first line, but other times I didn’t. I was often tempted to include more than one line (but it wouldn’t fit into the tweet), and those were the stories where the hook came a little later.

So here they are, the first lines for all 27 stories in my collection, following the order of the table of contents:

Ellie huddled in the corner of her daughter’s room.

Betty was hanging wet towels on the clothesline when a faded blue Plymouth Roadking came up the drive.

Nicole sat on a crowded bus to Spokane, knitting a turquoise scarf.

Kaimu dug his skis into the snow and forced himself onto the steeper slope along the edge of the run.

The second week of kindergarten, Mimi came home with a rabbit.

Nanami was the oldest of the ama. A Japanese mermaid, the tourists called her.

“This is Carla at the Off-Planet Tax Return helpline, how can I help you?”

Callie kept her heart in the front yard, as people often do.

I gave my left arm to Elizabeth.

When Amelia turned six, I took her to the circus.

You do not know me yet, my love, but I can hear you in my future.

Njeri sewed the woman together with hairs from a zebra tail.

Tomiko knelt at the table with her back straight and her webbed hands folded in her lap.

In a sketchbook of pure white paper, a watercolor king met a pencil queen.

Spring followed Horimachi as she hiked up the steep trail.

The magician’s table was covered by a sheet of plywood, four feet square, completely wrapped up in aluminum foil.

The ghost in my attic is Margaret, but she lets me call her Margie.

Dear Ethics Review Board for Research on Insignificant Humans,

The other girls are made of driftwood, but I’m made of bamboo that whistles in the wind.

Lady Earth went to the Galactic Carnival in a gown of watery blue and earthy green, with a shawl of swirling gray clouds.

A honeybee fluttered its wings for the last time.

A kraken came to Edgewood Street on the first day of summer vacation.

My mother was a colony ship.

My tree is a pyramidal cell in the prefrontal cortex of your brain.

Freet peered out from her den.

Nicole went to visit her best friend, Grant, the day before his family left for Opilio.

Mei dreamed of a new Earth.


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