You’ve been gearing up for NaNoWriMo now for weeks, developing a story idea and clearing time on your schedule.  Some of you started writing yesterday right at the stroke of midnight.  But, nearly forty-eight hours in, some of you are not writing yet.  Why?  Because you don’t know where to start.  You figure that once you nail the opening, the rest will flow.  But that first sentence has you stumped.  If you don’t start, you won’t finish.  So, with apologies to those of you who have seen this before –

Rather than find yourself stuck at the outset, searching for a great opening sentence, I thought I’d gift you one of the great opening sentences in the history of literature.   Notice how, with the careful addition of a comma, I’ve made it my own.  And as a bonus, if you’re still hunting for a plot, today’s tip comes with its own storyline.

I’m suggesting that you write a coming-of-age story about a shy teenage girl, sitting by her phone (in the age of cell phones, does anyone “sit by their phone”?).  She’s got a crush on a boy in her class, a dark-complected middle-Eastern transfer student with swarthy good looks, so she sits by her phone, hoping he’ll call.  She sits by her phone, imploring the phone to ring.

And the opening line that will propel this story to fame and fortune and 50,000 words?

“Call me, Ishmael.”


8 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo

  1. The opening for me has been the easiest part. I thought about that first chapter for days and felt anxious even to write it. I know that I’ll hit a slump somewhere around the middle.


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