Writing Prompt: Auctioning an Opener


Think of some of your favorite opening lines from books. Compose a line or sentence that you feel is a good opening line. Be prepared to talk about the following: Why is the line or sentence and opener and not more appropriate for another context? What genre (traditional or hybrid) do you envision for the line/sentence? What do you envision as the text for the line?

Next: Authors will auction their line. To bid on a line, you need to come up with an idea for the line/sentence. It can build on or stray from the author’s plan, but it needs to convince the author that you are a worthy buyer for their precious line. You also need to commit a number of lines/sentences (minimum ten) to the opening line/sentence you are bidding for. Only three bids max per piece are allowed before the author has to decide on a buyer to win the auction.

The exercise is collaborative and a great way to generate ideas if you’re feeling blocked.

For Later
Finish the piece you committed to during the auction and bring it to class on April 4.

This exercise is adapted from Michael Waters’s “Auction: First Lines (for a group)” in The Practice of Poetry, Behn & Twichell, eds.