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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Unpromising short story openers (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Unpromising short story openers
Puffy Treat
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  • "Gillian opened up her packet of chopsticks. But, these were no ordinary chopsticks. These were cursed chopticks of vengence!"
  • "The day began like any other. I brushed the stray spleen off my cheek, anointed my hands with petroleum jelly, then got to work on my next patient. I was a dwarf, this time. Oh, how I hate dwarfs."
  • "Earl realized too late that approaching the cute girl at Jeff's party with a ramekin of French onion dip on his head might be seen as pushy and frivolous. But, as an angry-yet-wistful Manhattanite, he was prone to bouts of poor judgment. It was at the very moment he offered her the dip that he noticed crumbs...lining the surface. "Oh no," he thought."
  • " YOU. Yes, YOU, the reader of this story. You may think you are an ordinary human, but you are really trapped in a highly sophisticated simulation. The "real" world is just a sham! Oh my gosh, doesn't that just BLOW YOUR MIND, lol!"

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Teshi
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I don't know, those all seem pretty promising to me.
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BandoCommando
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Actually, the last one rings a bell. Anyone feel like watching "The Matrix"?
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Eaquae Legit
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I might not find a whole book that started with those to be promising, but I would probably give them a few pages to convince me a short story was worth it.
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Puffy Treat
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The last one was inspired by a David Brin story that I found interesting but ultimately annoying. [Smile]
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The White Whale
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  • "Call me Ishmael."

[Evil]

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Alcon
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quote:
Originally posted by The White Whale:
  • "Call me Ishmael."


[Evil]

Definitely unpromising as a short story opener [Wink]
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Jeorge
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quote:
Originally posted by The White Whale:
  • "Call me Ishmael."


[Evil]

yeah. as an opener to short story, that is VERY unpromising. [Wink]
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Alcon
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Beat ya to it [Big Grin]
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aspectre
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"Call Me Ishmael" by ShirleyJackson in Spectre, Fall 1939 v1 n1.
I'm fairly certain that PhilipJoseFarmer started a short story (which was expanded into the novel) that way.
And have a vague memory of RogerZelazny or SamuelR.Delany doing the same.

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scifibum
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"What's this now? Why, it looks like the start of two days of danger and intrigue, a whirlwind romance with an exotic stranger, and stunning revelations about the government and my own murky past!" thought the broodingly quiet but cute ninja as he perused the day's mail over a bear claw.
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Puffy Treat
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
"What's this now? Why, it looks like the start of two days of danger and intrigue, a whirlwind romance with an exotic stranger, and stunning revelations about the government and my own murky past!" thought the broodingly quiet but cute ninja as he perused the day's mail over a bear claw.

And thus begins only the best story ever.
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scifibum
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Oh, I just realized the thread title isn't "Uncompromising" short story openers.
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Darth_Mauve
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"The True Peoples Republic of Umpandistand and Surrounding Protectorates, Territories, and Municipal Districts declared war last week on The Theocratic Republic of Lower Umandistand and the Seven Free Communes Existing Within. The army of two elderly cardiac patients and a demented cat never reached the border."

"World War Three was fought with nuclear weapons, with big explosion and massive death, damage, and destruction. But we aren't interested in that. World War Four was fought with sticks and a rock. This is the story of that rock."

"Broccoli is an interesting vegetable. Little do you realize its exciting night life."

"Bob the plumber was flushed with excitement."

"Sir Ten used only his ego to scare Sir Render into forfeiting the joust, but the unexpected Sir Prize showed up to throw the whole event into chaos. Following the orders of that snake, Sir Pent, Sir Jen tried to cut into the holy Sir Mon. When all was said and done, only one knight was standing. Who else but Sir Vive."

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TomDavidson
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"The sixth and last time I met Pierre Trudeau, he had just recently chosen to replace his failing left eye with a cybernetic camera. The device was concealed cunningly enough, but the constant if subtle whine of its servos began to grate on me barely halfway through the soup course."
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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
"The sixth and last time I met Pierre Trudeau, he had just recently chosen to replace his failing left eye with a cybernetic camera. The device was concealed cunningly enough, but the constant if subtle whine of its servos began to grate on me barely halfway through the soup course."

I'd keep reading.
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advice for robots
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She applied her makeup, first to herself, then to Muttonchop the Turtle. The red she used--it was First Kiss this time--set off the highlights on Muttonchop's shell. But it clashed with the green under his eyes, which was more of a forest green and begged for darker tones.

Big Jim's cowboy hat stayed in place the whole time the Little River Gang was laying into him with fists and gun butts, and even as his legs finally gave way his thoughts paused briefly on the circumstances in which he had purchased the hat.

There was blood everywhere. On the stairs, including the expensive runner, on the bannister, on the crown moulding, and, most unfortunately, on the Monet knockoff that had nevertheless been bought at Christie's for a princely sum. It was a scene straight out of some other painting Arthur had seen once in a small, exclusive show uptown. That bugged him that he couldn't think of the title. With a harrumph he pulled on his latex gloves and began hunting for fingerprints.

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Raymond Arnold
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Kriftin, son of Rekna, was a bastard. And he hated his toes.
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beleaguered
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quote:
Posted by Darth-Mauve
"World War Three was fought with nuclear weapons, with big explosion and massive death, damage, and destruction. But we aren't interested in that. World War Four was fought with sticks and a rock. This is the story of that rock."

If a rock has more of a story than nuclear war and wars with sticks, I'm hooked! What's the deal with this magical [Hail] rock?
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beleaguered
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she approached McDonalds, where she would finally share French Fries with the true love of her life for the first time, the one who gave her a reason to leave her boring husband, the one who's words of encouragement secretly kept her from eating at Wendy's.

The movie rental was about to start. She cuddled with man's best friend with every intention to make him woman's best friend, only just then her roommate walked in.

Glancing at his gym socks, he decided now was the best time to get some ice cream. He should've thought about his ongoing diet intentions but his health hadn't been a priority ever since he uncovered an alien plot to kidnap all women on Earth.

That was the last straw! The man in front of him took the last straw in the whole place! He then decided to start his crusade to destroy everyone who ate hamburgers, and his first victim was the man in front of him.

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Hobbes
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quote:
World War Four was fought with sticks and a rock. This is the story of that rock.
[ROFL]

Tom, both the name and the situation sound like part of a Terry Gilliam film. I think you and he should definitely work together on a new project. [Wink]

"The restless wind that funneled through the streets of Chicago seemed to were the perfect expression of the instability of my thoughts that morning. Walking almost in a stupor, terrorized by my own uncertainties, by my almost desperate need to know. 'Is it true?' I had been screaming into the vast caverns of my mind since that e-mail the previous night. 'Is this really the last male-enhancement product I'll ever need?'"

Hobbes [Smile]

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Leonide
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quote:
The army of two elderly cardiac patients and a demented cat never reached the border.
This story needs to be written.
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scifibum
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It's funny how GOOD most of these attempts at bad story openings are.
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Hobbes
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"This is the story of a man who tried to change the world and succeeded. This is the story of man with the vision, courage, and strength to overcome all obstacles nature and man could create to achieve the prize that all the Earth had been seeking. He has been called a genius, an Einstein, the Rembrandt of our times. Knowing no privation, feeling no fear, allowing no compromise, no deviation of integrity. A man among boys, a man that all women desire and all evil fear. I am that man, and my name is Richard Simmons."

Hobbes [Smile]

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Traceria
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
It's funny how GOOD most of these attempts at bad story openings are.

I was thinking the same thing! They're all so out there that I'd read more just to experience more of the ridiculousness.
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Scott R
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OMG! I n ur story? UR so hawt! XO
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scifibum
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Now that was unpromising, Scott R.

"Some people think that sometimes kids don't know what they are talking about and have to stay out of it. But I think staying out of it is not what is needed because I am smart and it's not like I was just a dum diaper baby. So one day the kids decided not to stay out of it and they started by saying Mom it's over now, or maybe Dad."

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Juxtapose
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"O hai!"
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Scott R
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quote:
Now that was unpromising, Scott R.
Yep. I win.
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advice for robots
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Whenever we did crafts we got out the glue bucket. And when we got out the glue bucket, Dad would start telling us about the horse it was made from. A fine racehorse, he said. Truly majestic as it came around the curve. Even after Dad shot it, that horse had kept coming. Boy, you should have seen it come. It crashed through that fence like a champion. Came right at me like it was going to take my gun away. I almost lost a leg that day, Dad would say. My older brother always snickered at that part. It wasn’t until years later that I figured out why.

Jerry still believed in cold fusion. Deena was afraid of panthers. They met at the demolition of an old hotel. It turned out that they had both stayed in room 1412, multiple times, in fact. There was that long scratch in the ceiling above the bed to discuss. But over dinner, they found that their theories about that scratch were incompatible.

You watch a man sneak on to the floor of the court at halftime with a microphone, and he selects seemingly at random one of the cheerleaders sitting on the sidelines. She jumps up and he leads her to the halfcourt line, close to your courtside seat. He gets down on one knee and she puts her hands over her mouth. Then he starts to propose, stumbling a bit on his words, and actually doesn’t react a whole lot when you hurl your hot dog at him, followed by your beer, which catches him on the shoulder and sloshes up over his head and across her uniform. He stops talking, but they just stay there, frozen, staring at each other, and they’re still like that the next time you get to look back as security hustles you away.

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Puffy Treat
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  • "When it happened a fifth time, I knew I wasn't imagining it. My horse was winking at me. And an enticing wink it was, by George."
  • "A Katalyst the Destroyer awoke beneath the sea, he felt compelled. Compelled to conquer. Compelled to kill. Compelled to feast on the flesh of the living. Oh, yes. The entire world would be this fish god's steak and shrimp all you can eat buffet! He grabbed a squid, munching and plotting."
  • "Jenny realized too late that the tomatillos she dropped into the blender were actually her son's pet frogs. "Hey, this reminds me of that one joke!" she remarked, setting it on "puree"."

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beleaguered
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Lost in a trance, he realized he was yet again subject to the doll created in his image.

The last card was turned over, turning his flush into a straight flush. With as much reverence as he could muster, he quickly and confidently stared everyone in the eye, let out a snicker, and loudly exclaimed, "You're ALL going Down!." He couldn't help it, he put everything he owned on the table, including his prosthetic arm and leg.

The dinner plate squirmed in anguish. Each item seemed to writhe and squiggle with the slightest touch of the fork. After a bit of convincing, Steve plunged into the meatiest piece, which squealed in horror. At closer glance, Steve noticed he was about to eat a tiny version of his Aunt Edna. Starving in hunger, he squirted her with lemon juice and took a bite.

This time, the boomerang returned coverend in flames of joy. Insistant on remaining miserable, he let the dog get it.

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JennaDean
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quote:
The movie rental was about to start. She cuddled with man's best friend with every intention to make him woman's best friend, only just then her roommate walked in.
Something about this is really disturbing to me....
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beleaguered
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quote:
quote:
The movie rental was about to start. She cuddled with man's best friend with every intention to make him woman's best friend, only just then her roommate walked in.

Something about this is really disturbing to me....
Tell me about it! A dog that's able to sit through a movie?!
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by aspectre:

And have a vague memory of RogerZelazny or SamuelR.Delany doing the same.

I think it would be "They called him Frost," which if I recall correctly is the opening to "For A Breath I Tary"
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Jeorge
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Some of these sound a bit like Douglas Adams to me.
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Jenny Gardener
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Once upon a time, there was a princess.
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scifibum
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Others sound like S. Morgenstern.
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The Reader
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Tom's feet were raised on the footrest of his recliner, blocking his view of the television. He looked in disgust at the cheetoh crumbs on his bare, hairy chest. This is the time when many people of his age have an epiphany and realize that the life that had been lived was not worth th time taken to reach that age. Most people would resolve to change their life.

Tom made such a resolution. He resolved to buy a larger television, and raise it to a level above his large, ugly feet. "I'll worry about financing at a future point in time." he thought. "These life changes are more important than money."

But Tom never bought the television, and took that regret to the grave. This is the story of that bag of cheetohs.

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beleaguered
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I hate to correct anything in such a masterpiece, but you can drop the "h"
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advice for robots
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The alien ship came hurtling through the wormhole into a part of space that was not on any of their starmaps. An average spiral galaxy, an average G-type star, and a planet orbiting around that star, the third of eight (although some argued there were nine). A small expedition landed on that planet, while the millions of others waited in the ship, watching with bated breath. No life bigger than a few microbes, but everything needed to sustain life. They came down rejoicing, and brought with them their seeds and their vast stores of embryos. They stood on the bare soil of that world and gazed up at the benevolent sun that was now their own, and they wept with joy. This is the story of that wormhole.
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beleaguered
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quote:
The dinner plate squirmed in anguish. Each item seemed to writhe and squiggle with the slightest touch of the fork. After a bit of convincing, Steve plunged into the meatiest piece, which squealed in horror. At closer glance, Steve noticed he was about to eat a tiny version of his Aunt Edna. Starving in hunger, he squirted her with lemon juice and took a bite.

This is the story of the fork.
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Scott R
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[INSERT TITLE]

by Scott M. Roberts

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rivka
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Ouch. Feeling a tad bitter?
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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by beleaguered:
I hate to correct anything in such a masterpiece, but you can drop the "h"

Thusly without promise begins the short story of an Internet crusader who desired to make marginal improvements to deliberately bad writing.
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Achilles
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
[INSERT TITLE]

by Scott M. Roberts

You have to do a lot of these for every Blackberry Witch, I imagine. [Wink]
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Dan_raven
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"I, Jar-jar Binks, me-sah, gonnna tell me-sah life story...."

"First a warning, my kidney stones, and the traumatic, desperate, and ultimately spiritual experience of their trip through my urinary tract, is not for those of feint heart, or feint stomach."

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Jeorge
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His heart and his stomach feinted. Then they parried. But ultimately it was his kidney stones that won the duel.
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Scott R
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
Ouch. Feeling a tad bitter?

Nah. I hear self-deprecation is charming.
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beleaguered
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quote:
scifi:
Thusly without promise begins the short story of an Internet crusader who desired to make marginal improvements to deliberately bad writing.

He began by dotting their "I's" and crossing their "t's", but eventually the corrections became compulsion. Eventually he saw had text, and that text needed to be corrected! One day he tripped on his trusty pen, hit his head on the corner of his desk, and was rendered unconscious. When he woke up he thought he was Elmer Fudd, he owned a mansion and a yacht.
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