And Now, the First Line of My Next Writing Project

It is:

“Let’s just get this out of the way,” I said. “One of you idiots is likely to die.”

And that’s all you get until it is done.

By John Scalzi

I enjoy pie.

64 replies on “And Now, the First Line of My Next Writing Project”

That’s exactly what my college creative writing professor said to us right after he said it was a safe bet none of us would ever be published authors.

A side comment that sometimes the RSS feed for your site (or perhaps the reader I use, Feedly?) will sometimes grab the Big Idea cover picture to go with a post that otherwise has no image. It’s occasionally quite confusing!

I once woke up with an opening line running through my mind: “Get your head down, lad. We’re about to open fire.”

I followed it and goty an idea for a two-volume, fat-spine fantasy series. I even wrote a first chapter so I could pitch it to a publisher who was interested in me, but in the end I got a nope. So I pitched something else and got a three-book deal.

But every now and then, I remember that line and I think, “I really ought to do something with that idea.”

I LOVE when books start out with cocky, obviously quite intelligent people who are mean to stupid people.
(I do. I’m a horrible person.)

John, for some reason I hear that line in my inner Shell Scott voice.
For those of you who don’t know Shell… well now. :-O There ain’t many detectives who swing into crime scenes on a wrecking ball, get chased naked through a casino by a jealous, scimitar wielding boyfriend, land a hot air balloon naked, or disguise themselves as a prop on a movie set.

Love it how that line establishes character, tone, and setting: This must play out in a world where immortality has been achieved and is commonly available, or else both idiots would certainly die. Eventually.

So: Are you doing a sequel to In Time?

“Wait, shouldn’t it be One of you idiots are likely to die?”



Join us next week for another episode of the grammar vigilante…

I gave that speech every year. The reaction was always the same: blank stares, looks of vague concern, and a few bordering on tears. Then, inevitably, one of them burst into audible, choking sobs. The rest soon followed.
It’s a tough thing to hear, but comforting lies (even of omission) do no favors. Playtime was over. These poor souls were in kindergarten now.

I love this line and it must stay: if not in this novel, than in another.

This leads us to another fun game I’m surprised nobody’s tried yet: WHICH BOOK IS THIS FOR? A world we know, or a world we do not? (Sure sounds like the CDF….)

Sounds like something Jane Sagan-Perry might say.

But I’d really just like a short story where Zoe and Gretchen meet up after several years. Maybe Hickory and Dickory get in Gretchen’s way as she rushes to hug Zoe, and she says, “…

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