Weekend Workout: 50 First Lines

A few years ago I went through a micro fiction phase. I was inspired by a “postcard story” contest. Submissions had to be stories told in 250 words or less. I thought if I cranked out a 250 word story a day for 10 days, chances are I’d like at least one of them.

I didn’t win the contest, but I did end up with the first five chapters of a flash fiction series I intend to finish one of these days. I discovered how much fun flash fiction can be, especially if you don’t attach any expectations around the work and just keep cranking them out.

The first thing I did when I sat down to write them is I just started thinking about random start lines. Each day I would pick and expand on one of them. I can’t think of the author who has the “50 first lines” exercise… if you know who it is, let me know. I just remember that you’re supposed to start the exercise by writing 50 first lines.

So, there you go. Excellent weekend workout. Write 50 start lines! Who knows… the lines could turn in to poems, vignettes, short stories, or even a novel.

Don’t spend too much time on them. Less than an hour. Just write them as fast as they come. Don’t judge them, with 50 first lines you can throw out 90% of them and still have lines to work with.

Here are my first 5:

1) Picking up the chipped coffee cup he wondered what Thelma would have to say about him being fired.

2) From the surface of the moonblue water, a tail emerged like a telescope.

3) Her credit card was maxed and her bank account was dry, but by God she was going to have a good time at the space station.

4) Mumphy paced back and forth in front of the delivery room and wondered if it were too late to tell Chelle he no longer wanted to be a part of the experiment.

5) “I wouldn’t get on her bad side if I were you,” Kris said as I studied the woman who he claimed had some kind of holy control over his life.

Have fun and have a great weekend (workout)



  1. Got my 50 First Lines – Time for Paragraphs! « The Accidental Novelist (Writes Again) - [...] Last Weekend I gave you the workout of coming up with 50 first lines. That was it, just the…
  2. Weekend Writing Workout: Paragraphs to Stories « The Accidental Novelist (Writes Again) - [...] from my original 50 first lines I picked the 10 I liked the best. Then I sat down and…

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