“It was a dark and stormy night…”

This weekend, we asked Figmenters to send us the first line of a story. Yesterday, over 600 people (!) voted for the winner. Congrats to Charles Albert Spellman V for his winning entry:

I didn’t expect taking a man’s life would be so easy, but then again, he didn’t think cowards could pull triggers.

Congrats again, Charles. A big round of applause also goes to our other finalists, ranked as follows:

2. Martin Turner: There were just six simple rules at the orphanage, but it took me eleven years three months and one day to figure out how to break all of them in a single incident, without hurting the cat.
3. Adrian Corpus: The funny thing is, I didn’t even like cheese.
4. Alexandra Wimberly: I always find it exceedingly difficult to explain why I fall asleep in one place, and wake up in another.
5. Kelsey Rebecca: I swear it was not my fault when everyone in the junior class got arrested.
6. Timothy Ore: Has it ever crossed your mind that maybe the end happens before the beginning?
7. Aaron Holmes: It began as many things begin: a soft rumble in the distance.
8. Corey Sanders: My life revolved around an ancient candle-stick, a silver dollar and a blind thirteen year old girl of dubious heritage.
9. Chloe The Strange One: The clouds cried over the vast wasteland, and silence swollowed the earth’s surface.
10. Claire Greising: The wind whispered eerily through the naked trees and the air tasted of danger and opportunity.

Don’t you think you should follow these people to find out when they write the rest of their stories? “What a brilliant idea, Lindsay!”

G’night, Figmentalites~


“It was a dark and stormy night.”
Paul Clifford by Edward Bulwer-Lytton (as well as A Wrinkle In Time by Madame L’Engle, and The Red Baron by Snoopy)

“There was a hand in the darkness and it held a knife.”
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

“First, the colors.”
The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

“Call me Ishmael.”
Moby Dick by Herman Melville

“Someone was looking at me, a disturbing sensation if you’re dead.”
A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb

“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”
The Gunslinger by Stephen King

These are just a few lines that have become iconic openings to iconic works. Creating that perfect intro, though can be a tall order. So we challenge you to an OPENING LINE CONTEST! [insert gasps of astonishment here] Make it eerie or stunning, abstract or detailed, rambling or brief.

How to enter:

-Write your opening line. There is no length limit, but it must be a grammatically correct sentence.
-Email it to openingline@figment.com
-Follow Opening Line on Figment

Entries are due by SUNDAY, 2/13 at 12:00 PM EST. Yes, it’s a short contest. IT’S A SHORT ENTRY. On Monday (2/14), we will have the finalists on the blog for a round of blind voting to determine the winner, who will be announced on Tuesday. The winner will receive Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve (opening line: “That morning they were making paper boys.”), The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle (opening line: “To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman.”), a Wizards & Dragons bookmark (superawesome), and a Figment tote (superawesomer). Good luck, all!



43 thoughts on ““It was a dark and stormy night…”

    • The contest is for the opening sentence; you can creatively lengthen the sentence using interesting punctuation, but it must be just one grammatically correct sentence (like this).

  1. Wait, when we send these contest entries via email do we have to send from the email we have registered on here? Because I have been using my school email so far rather than my personal one (which I have used to make my figment account). But my school email has my name in it.

    • It makes it easier if you send it from your figment email, but we can usually figure out who sent what entry. If we really need to, we will respond to your entry asking your figment username 🙂

  2. Great contest idea. Hard to pin down, but the three best first lines for me in existing literature would be the start of the Hobbit, the start of 1984, and the utterly brilliant beginning to Brighton Rock: ‘Hale knew, before he had been in Brighton three hours, that they meant to murder him’.

  3. I think a better example would be my favorite opening line from Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield:

    “Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.”

    or from Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote:

    “Somewhere in La Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a gentlemen not long ago, one of those who has an ancient shield on a shelf and a shiny nag and a greyhound for racing.”

    They are both great examples of amazing opening lines.

    • Thank God you spelled Don Quixote right; I’ve seen so many people spell it Donkey Hote it’s not even funny.
      I’m so excited for Monday! I want to read peoples entries – with so many people entering they must be amazing to had been chosen.

  4. I already published mine on figment and I already sent you the line, so can I just take the story off figment? It didn’t have any hearts or any comments or anything, so I am not sure if anyone every read it. What should I do?

    • Hey James!
      We got a lot of fantastic entries for this contest; it was really tough to narrow it down to only those few finalists.

  5. There should be a contest to write a story beginning with that line. I really love it–though we’d need the author’s permission first.

  6. Wow, this was a great contest idea. I wish I’d joined Figment earlier so I could have participated! But anyway, all of the winners deserved to be up there on this blog because those first lines are fan-freaking-tastic.

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