In preparation for National Novel Writing Month, it’s sometimes helpful to do warm-up writing exercises. In fact, any time you’re gearing up for a large writing project or any kind of writing project, it can be beneficial to first warm-up your writing muscles, as it were. After all, before runners compete in a marathon, they do basic stretches to warm up their leg muscles. Those warm-ups are, in a way, exercise for exercise’s sake. The marathon is the main event, the warm-ups don’t really matter except inasmuch as they help you prepare. In the same way, writing warm-ups can help you prepare, while being low-stakes in terms of effort.
Warm-ups can take just about any form, but I find it interesting to be given first lines and write from there. First lines are sometimes what authors anguish over the most, trying to get them absolutely perfect and then wasting all their creativity on that one line. Sure, the first line is important as a welcome to readers, but it’s not everything. So, for this post, just relax about the first line, let the prompts do the work, and concentrate on building an interesting story to exercise those writing muscles.
A writing community that I belong to recently posted some warm-up, first line prompts and I thought I’d share them here. Warm-up prompts can help you get your mind working and even supply you with new ideas to incorporate into your larger projects. Try out these prompts as your first line the next time you’re feeling stuck:
- The dog belly flopped into the pool.
- An alien zapped me with laser beams from his eyes.
- I couldn’t believe I was standing in front of my hero.
- Hail pelted the windows.
- We were going to be rock stars at any cost.
Hope these inspired you to write! Happy Wednesday!
— Jet Fuel Editor, Mary Egan