“The Opening Line” Poll

Okay here’s the deal; I need your help. No, wait, I’m not going to ask for your money or anything like that, I just need to pick your brains for a second. Actually on second thought picking someone’s brain sounds like a completely horrifying act. Do not fear: NO PICKS WILL BE INVOLVED.

What I need is an opinion. I’m entering into a contest in which the challenge is to create a single sentence, a first sentence, which will grab the readers attention, and make them beg for more. The only problem is that being an occasional overachiever I’ve cranked out four of these suckers. Four sentences.

And I can only enter one.

That’s where you come in. Click your favourite in the poll below (yes I spell favourite with a “u”, deal with it.) Whatever one you pick will be the one I enter. I’ve got until Friday morning to decide so time is of the essence.


This isn’t going to make a lot of sense, but there’s a lot you’ve forgotten, and there’s no time to explain, because now, right now they’re coming for you, for me, for us, and if you don’t start running you won’t be alive long enough to figure out why.

Frankly, if I’d known Frog was going get his thumb bitten off by the deputy mayor I probably would have passed on that second helping of potato logs.

A few centuries after we hacked the Riparian cultural memeset, Karl said he was getting out of the god-making business for good this time, but none of us believed him on account of how Karl said that kind of thing at least once every couple millennia.

You’re puking into a canceled wormhole when an epistle sizzles down the Trunk, <Ding dong, good buddy, the witch is dead,> and with a squeal of rusty cognitive gears sobriety kicks in and you know you’re going to need an alibi.

Oh, and one more thing. Whichever sentence wins, I’ll finish writing that story and post it here within um…eventually. If nobody votes, then  no story. Also, I’ll curl up in my shower and cry because nobody loves me. So there’s that.

UPDATE: I wanted to make voting on this thing as easy as possible, but I couldn’t get the poll thing with the fancy buttons to work so if you could leave your choice in the comments I would appreciate it. Apologies for the inconvenience.

UPDATE THE SECOND: The poll is now closed. The winner is, by a long shot, “Frog Got Bit”. I’ll be making a new post with the status of this story shortly. Stay tuned!

15 responses to ““The Opening Line” Poll

  1. I like it – “If nobody votes, then no story.” Clean, succinct, to the point. Global in implications.

    Oh wait – oh, I see, that’s not one of my choices. Oh, ok, in that case I pick, “Frankly, if I’d known Frog was going to get his thumb bitten off…”

    It’s slightly disgusting, with a touch of humor and mystery (“What’s a potato log?”) and it doesn’t try too hard. I’d read on to see what comes next.

  2. I don’t see a place to click a favorite. The obvious winner should be Frog because there is a “deputy Mayor.” A regular Mayor would have just been boring.

  3. Definitely ‘Frankly, if I’d known Frog was going get his thumb bitten off by the deputy mayor I probably would have passed on that second helping of potato logs.”

    Like Morgan, what is a potato log? And this makes me think of something out of a southern tale, in a small town… I’m picturing a sherriff… Something from the 30’s…. 🙂

    Good Luck Al!

    • I think Morgan was right in the idea that the sentence’s charm comes from its relative brevity. I had a lot of fun putting stuff into the others that, while interesting, probably bogged them down. “Frog Got Bit” manages to do a lot with a little, and that’s always a plus.

  4. Considering Wendig is the judge, and considering he stipulated “shove my face,” etc, I vote for the cancelled wormhole puking one.

    But I’ve a feeling you’re gonna enter the potato log one, so I’m gonna change my vote to that one.

    On third thought, fark it, I vote for the wormhole.

    That brings my total votes to:
    one vote for potato log
    two votes for wormhole

    Good luck. 🙂

    • I like “Canceled Wormholes” too, but it may have been trying too hard on the weirdness factor. Possibly-interesting-but-probably-not fact: the original draft of that sentence ended in, “…you’re going to need to buy an alibi.” which I thought was more interesting concept-wise, but that extra word messed up the flow of the sentence.

  5. I’m going for the Frog one as well. I’d read that any time.

  6. First time here! Yah!

    I found you by a link in the contest’s comments and thought I could contribute.

    I prefer your first sentence.

    I know most readers like the Frog sentence, but to me there is nothing important about a thumb being bitten off. It makes me shrug, but does not leave me with the immensely curiosity like the first and the last one. The last one I am a bit confused as to its full meaning (maybe I’m lacking proper education). The third one seems like an average situation that only describes the foundation–that Karl is capable of making gods. There is no hook on it.

    Thanks for letting me contribute my 2 cents.

  7. It’s gotta be the Frog one. If you don’t use it I’ll unsubscribe forever.

  8. Looks like everyone else has already beaten me to “Frog.” Just as well. They were all interesting in their own way. My second choice was the first.

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