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(Meme) Opening Lines

30th August 2008 (15:15)
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Opening lines meme inspired by[info]azdak. Post the first line from your last 20 stories. Do you see any patterns? I've excluded drabbles from this. I was also unsure if I'd actually even written that many stories, but turns out I had to go back less than a year to reach 20.

1.
"School sucks. Homework sucks more. And History homework is, like, exponentially suckier."
- Past Imperfect, Future Conditional, Present Tense

2.
It was the proudest day of Don Cristobal de Menendez y Spinoza's life when his ward was Chosen as Slayer.
- Caught Sleeping

3.
He ran his finger over the spine of the book ruefully. This was going to be rather different to what he'd expected.
- The Slayer's Handbook

4.
It's quiet here. Soft and warm. Enveloping. She drifts, empty, silent, still.
- In Sure And Certain Hope

5.
Through bloodstained battle Buffy danced.
- The Chooser and the Chosen

6.
The clanging and yelling of the battle had faded. Even the moans of the dying grew faint.
- Once and Future

7.
"Weird. That's not something you see every day."
- A Storm Coming In

8.
It had been forty years or more since Buffy held the Scythe, but her fingers closed about it now as if it were part of her.
- How The Heroes Die

9.
She's dead.
- Dead Letter

10.
Buffy hates portals. She associates them with death and suffering.
- We Just Declared War

11.
"Buffy? I'm not disturbing you, am I?"
- Matthew 1.23, Except Not

12.
Willow kneels on the grass, her head bowed. She is naked, as the ritual demands; and the constant gentle rain feels oddly warm on her bare skin.
- And All My Secrets Laid Bare

13.
Kennedy was still embarrassed by the fireplace.
- Legally Dead

14.
Plenty of screwing went on in NCWF Stockton. Faith wasn’t particularly surprised; she’d heard all the jokes about women’s prisons.
- Stockton Gala Days

15.
Faith picked up the book carefully in both hands and walked into the kitchen.
- Getting In The Game

16.
*brrr*  *brrr*  *brrr*  *click* "Wolfram and Hart, Harmony speaking, how can I help you?"
- The Phonecall

17.
Buffy collapsed down onto her bed with a sigh. It wasn't getting any easier.
- Unstylish Yet High-Priced Boots

18.
If Buffy was surprised to find the main boards lit up in the middle of the night, she tried not to show it.
- ...And Shopping

19.
"You've done it? You've really done it?" Dawn leaped to her feet and bounced excitedly, causing seismic detection stations to trigger alerts across half of Scotland.
- Netherlands to Nepal

20.
Angel adopted a defensive stance, eyeing the peculiar stranger warily.
- Stealer of Souls

Well, I think the main pattern is that there's no real pattern to my opening lines... Only 25% of them start with a line of dialogue, which was rather less than I was expecting. 35% start with action, with me describing somebody doing something. Another 30% begin with a description of the scene or the emotions being felt by the people there, and 10% start with a more general scene-setting description. I think that shows a bias towards jumping straight into things, not wasting a lot of time on talking about what's going on, although there's no absolute restriction on the other approach.

Oh, and 70% of the opening lines include a person's name, letting you know who the story is going to be about. Six Buffy, two Faith, one each of Angel, Dawn, Willow, Kennedy and Harmony, and one OC. More Buffy than I'd expected, and less Willow. Mind you, I am sometimes guilty of never mentioning the people's names anywhere in the story, which is probably a bit self-indulgent. (And trusting that my characterisation is accurate enough that people will work it out anyway.)

Comments

Posted by: azdak (azdak)
Posted at: 30th August 2008 19:33 (UTC)

Brevity. There is a definite pattern of short opening lines merging here ;-)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 30th August 2008 22:42 (UTC)

Even though, like you, I often gave the first several sentences rather than just the first one. That would have been even briefer!

I have a tendency to waffle on, so when writing fic I deliberately try to cut things short...

Posted by: fluffybkitty (fluffybkitty)
Posted at: 30th August 2008 20:02 (UTC)
buffy - mad skillz

Here's another pattern: Every first line makes me want to go and read the whole fic.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 30th August 2008 22:47 (UTC)

Yay! Thank you!

(It was actually fun for me going back and looking at some of those fics again, and seeing what I've written.)

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 31st August 2008 10:59 (UTC)

Heh. I just did this myself, and it seems you and I are... not polar opposites, but we definitely like to do things differently both when it comes to naming names and whether to jump straight into things or set the scene first. Both work, obviously (especially since your first lines really are good), but having just read my own 20... I'm starting to think I need to start with someone doing something more often.

(Then again, I think my big Faith story had three chapters in a row starting with Faith sitting or laying down on Buffy's bed. And it wasn't even femmeslash. Obviously, I would also need to come up with more things for them to do than that.) :-)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 31st August 2008 14:20 (UTC)
faith2

Faith getting into Buffy's shower? Faith on the back seat of Buffy's car (she'd need time to recover her nerve, if Buffy drove)? Faith delivering a pizza to Buffy's house while cheesy 70s music plays in the background?

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 31st August 2008 15:14 (UTC)
Fuffy

Faith delivering a pizza to Buffy's house while cheesy 70s music plays in the background?

Damnit, now I'm picturing Faith speaking in Peter Stormare's accent from The Big Lebowski.

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