Welcome back to Flash Points. Every (so often) on a not-very-hot-for-August Monday we stick one of the previous Friday’s entries under a sparklyscope and talk about it right in front of its face, dragon style. What makes writing “good”? Specifically, what makes great flash? Let the discussion begin!
Prompt: Men and machine
Word limit: 100–200
Killer first lines!
Like any other form of writing, flash fiction requires a strong hook, a strong finish, deliberate development of plot and character, consciously chosen details, a uniquely compelling voice–except a fraction of the length and twice the strength. That first sentence, for example, had better grab the reader right off the bat and pull them (even if kicking and screaming) into the story.
The following are the first lines that caught my eye this week and made me want to keep reading. I love their succinctness, their mystery, their color & texture, and how these dynamics immediately made their stories stand out:
From the beginning, Tom had seen the risks. —Tom O’Connell
“Something doesn’t feel right.” — Marie McKay
He looked at the photograph, well, not so much looked, as interpreted; it was hard to look at anything anymore without actual eyeballs. — Erin McCabe
“See? I told you he was up to no good.” — IfeOluwa Nihinlola
Three concerned faces studied the old machine; it hadn’t been used for months and it wasn’t yet clear why it had been used today. — A J Walker
This is painful to watch. — Danielle Cahill
“Couldn’t we simply leave him in there?” — Kevin Julien
The day at long last had come, and the reporters sat anxiously awaiting the feeds from NASA. — M T Decker
The truth was that the moment that I saw her, I knew she would be a star. — J M Blackman
“This will change the world?” asked Dr. Canon. — Whitney Healy
What about you?
What these first lines share is the way they pulled me in and made me want to know more about whatever world their writers have created.
What first lines throughout literature are your favorite?? Let’s go beyond the famous ones (though yes, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of good fortune must be in want of a wife,” probably wins hands down. And yes, a girl can love dragons AND Jane Austen!).