First line prompts are one of the most fun writing prompts techniques out there. It’s fun to see what sort of story you can come up with from someone’s first line, and comparing the results. It’s even better when you don’t know anything about the original novel or story.


Today, I present 10 awesome first line prompts from popular and some unpopular novels, as well as a few children’s books. I hope they lead to some interesting story ideas for you:) For more of the same, check out American Book Review‘s list.


10 First Line Writing Prompts


1. “Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday; I can’t be sure.”

The Stranger, Albert Camus


2. “It’s a funny thing about mothers and fathers.”

Matilda, Roald Dahl


3. “The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we understood the gravity of our situation.”

The Secret History, Donna Tartt


First Line Prompts Melting Snow


4. “It was a pleasure to burn.”

Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury


5. “We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.”

The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood


6. “This is how the story begins. On a dark, dark hill, there was a dark, dark town.”

Funnybones, Janet Ahlberg & Allan Ahlberg


7. “Where’s Papa going with that ax?”

Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White


8. “Johnny never knew for certain why he started seeing the dead.”

Johnny and the Dead, Terry Pratchett


9. “Once upon a time there lived… ‘A king!’ my little readers will say immediately. No, children, you are mistaken. Once upon a time there was a piece of wood.”

Pinocchio, Carlo Collodi


10. “Kidnapping children is never a good idea; all the same, sometimes it has to be done.”

Island of the Aunts, Eva Ibbotson



I hope you found these first line prompts inspiring. What did you come up with? Please share below:)

Click here for more first line prompts.



Happy Writing,




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