Sometimes, the muse speaks through creative writing prompts.
And sometimes all you need is a single sentence to get you started on your next epic story.
Among the one sentence prompts you’ll find below, you’re sure to find at least one first line generator for a story you’ll love writing.
So, whether you’ve got a first name already picked out for your next main character or you’re starting with nothing but the will to write, enjoy the prompts below.
List of 101 First Line Generator Ideas
The best way to use a sentence generator is to start free-writing on the first one that grabs your interest and write as quickly as you can.
This is not the time to edit. Let the words flow out as the story forms in your mind.
Short Story First Line Generator
1. With his background and fierce appearance, no one expected Bruno the mastiff to be a good dog for small children.
2. She frowned thoughtfully at the tarot cards arranged before her.
3. Writing down her thoughts about their relationship wasn’t as cathartic as she’d hoped.
4. She bent down to pick up what she thought was a half-buried seashell.
5. No one suspected that every one of the vaccine syringes sent to those areas would render their receivers sterile for life.
6. It was there the billionaires of the world gathered to announce their joint decision, either oblivious or indifferent to the revolution brewing next door.
7. Just when she thought she’d finished crying, the phone rang.
8. On a night like this, the sky should be full of stars, but as she looked up, her legs almost gave out.
9. She’d forgiven everyone and emptied her home of all that gave it meaning.
10. Three times, now, she’d almost died, and no one had noticed.
11. Her fifteen-month-old son tensed up in his shopping cart seat when the man approached.
12. “Oh, spare me the theatrics, and go cry somewhere else,” he said, adding, “No one wants to see that.”
13. Her voice broke over the phone when mine did, but she said, “It’s actually pretty nice here.”
14. “Okay, before I tell you, mom, you have to promise not to be mad.”
15. If they don’t find Ben attractive, they at least find him compelling. That’s the problem.
16. Once she catches your scent — a scent like yours, especially — she learns everything about you.
17. “I need something to look forward to that doesn’t come in a bottle. You got any ideas?”
18. It was his living room art display that finally convinced her to leave him.
Fantasy First Line Generator
Use these as a springboard, even if you end up changing the first line in your final draft.
19. This world was never meant to survive her.
20. As far as she was concerned, he was a typical teenager with a hoodie.
21. It’s not every girl who finds out her mom is a centuries-old superhero.
22. My first tutor was a dragon with a terrible sense of humor.
23. I looked into the crystal ball and saw myself walking hand-in-hand with my mortal enemy.
24. What I made for my mother’s birthday was supposed to be a harmless pendant.
25. I spent a thousand years in that bottle before a child freed me from it and called me “Mama.”
26. He made it sound as though the very worst thing I could be was a witch.
27. She was changed into something else while her parents stood nearby, watching the others.
28. The label on the bottle said “Drink me,” and Alice rolled her eyes and snickered as she poured herself a glass.
29. The freeway was completely deserted, and the only words on the marquee near my exit were “Supplies have run out, and shelters are full.”
30. She told me I was the perfect candidate for their weaponized shifter program; and their target was someone easy to dislike.
31. I knew she’d been scratched during the attack, but until now, full moons hadn’t been a problem.
32. He shouldn’t have made me choose between my world and this one.
33. The one thing my mother hadn’t told me about her past was the reason I now lived in an icy cave near the top of the highest peak.
34. The trolls in that valley are the ones who found me and gave me my name.
35. I’m unusually tall for a dwarf. My mother was not prepared.
Random First Line Generator
Don’t underestimate the creative power of random thoughts from memories or recent experiences.
Use one of the following to launch into a story that weaves elements of your own or someone else’s history into it.
36. If only she hadn’t bought the red one.
37. One bite, and his eyes closed, his focus turned inward, while she quietly exhaled.
38. She was the kind of person who loudly insulted others’ intelligence while neglecting her own.
39. Doctors told her she could never diet again.
40. I don’t sleep with that stone unless I want to wake up feeling as though I spent the whole night running.
41. It was enough for her that he’d found a lost child and returned him to his parents.
42. You’d think a winning lottery ticket was just what we needed.
43. In exchange for the apartment, she had agreed to bring the inmate his meals.
44. Her father always said driving would be the death of her.
45. What if I told you the separation of church and state is an illusion?
46. The largest golden maple leaf I’d ever seen landed at my feet as I turned the corner.
47. “Help me! I’m not your enemy,” he said.
48. For some reason, no one thought to question the other housekeeping staff.
49. As soon as he stepped across the threshold, she caught a whiff of something.
50. Even with a baby in her arms and her hair loose, I knew her. And it all came back.
51. He waited, nervously clearing his throat until my husband left the room.
52. His bike still hung on the rack, covered in dust, and one wheel bent into a moon shape.
Poetry First Line Generator
Sometimes, all you want to write is a poem to express the ideas circulating in your mind.
Use any of the following to open the spigot and let the uncensored words out onto the page. Editing can wait.
53. The sky feels as empty as my chest.
54. The trees would miss you if you left.
55. The sunlight brought me back to you.
56. I was tired before my first sip of wine.
57. Memory is all around us, as well as within.
58. Don’t tell me what I need.
59. No expensive funeral for me, if I even have one.
60. The first step toward you was the hardest.
61. My hope literally took form inside of me.
62. I fight for what you’ve had from birth.
63. I come to shatter this fortress— not protect it.
64. You were born to make mistakes and to change the world as you learned from them.
65. The burn is what gets me.
66. There’s something in the water that now lives in me.
67. Why should I get away with it?
68. One bloom outlasted the rest before suddenly dropping.
69. I wish I could tell you this has nothing to do with me
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Novel First Line Generator
70. I know how he sees me; the alcohol helps with that. But it doesn’t argue with him.
71. Every answer to my question begins with, “Now, don’t take this the wrong way…”
72. No one expected her to be the first among them to succumb.
73. I could barely look at it. The sticky note attached to the jar read, “Careful. It’s loaded.”
74. She saw me and sneered. “I thought maybe your lawn mower was broken.”
75. He prided himself on understanding criminals. This one, with his glassy eyes and unerasable smirk, was the first to humble him.
76. This was the seventh parcel to arrive for her with nothing for a return address but a dried blossom under a square of packing tape.
77. She’d spend hours in the shop, looking over different stones, holding them briefly in her hand — until she found one that didn’t want to leave her fingers.
78. The baby’s name was Petra before the neighborhood prophet said something disconcerting to her father.
79. Her first love lay on the table in a neat, familiar arrangement, while her second love waited for her to come read them.
80. My mother makes the only perfectly balanced and seasoned vinaigrette I’ve ever tasted.
81. The party went splendidly until Meredith’s blood splattered on my favorite pillow.
82. He doesn’t think I know where he hid the evidence from that night.
83. He quietly rolled the car back down the driveway and into the street before pausing for one last look at my bedroom window.
84. The first time I remember him looking at me with anything like pride was when I screamed in his face.
85. “Get that lazy eye back where it’s s’posed to be. You’ll scare the cats.”
Historical Fiction First Line Generator
86. She knew Rasputin was in love with her. That’s what made it so easy.
87. Everyone assumed Jack the Ripper was a man. It was the perfect cover for the family business.
88. Custer graduated at the bottom of his class at West Point. There was a reason.
89. We had an understanding, Jefferson and I. He promised me freedom for my unborn children.
90. “I’d just stepped out of Ford’s for a drink during intermission. Booth was drinking in the same saloon. And then he wasn’t.”
91. “Now that I’m a mother, my position at court has finally improved. Just as well no one’s asked me who the father is.” (Marie Antoinette)
92. “She called me cousin and friend after the murder of my husband.” (Mary Queen of Scots)
93. “Sixteen was too young to get married — especially to a man I’d only just met. But it beat going back to an orphanage.” (Norma Jean Baker / Marilyn Monroe)
94. “It’s not every actor who gets to be on Hitler’s death list. Too bad for him my job would probably kill me first.” (Curly Howard)
95. “The real Vladimir died a long time ago.” (Putin’s wife + conspiracy theories)
96. “It’s true my husband’s death was tragic. It’s also true that it was necessary.” (Catherine the Great of Russia)
97. “It’s thanks to my slave, James Hemmings, that the American people now have macaroni and cheese, French fries, and crème brûlée.” (Jefferson)
98. “We watched the boat sink with the rest, huddled together in our lifeboat. There were four of us left. ” (lone survivor of the SS David J Morell)
99. “We stumbled upon 11 of them, mostly kids. They were in bad shape — frostbitten, bleeding, and barely able to walk.” (John Stark, unpaid rescuer of the Donner Party)
100. “I invested $1.5 million of my own money in ‘The Great Dictator’ when the U.S. and Nazi Germany were still at peace.” (Charlie Chaplin)
101. “I’ve had relationships with both men and women. One of them, poor John, I left at the altar.” (Greta Garbo)
First Line Generator Tools
If the prompts above got your mind working, but you could still use a bit more help, try any of the following first-line generators. True, they don’t know anything about the story you’re writing, but they don’t have to. Sometimes, all you need is a scrap of an idea.
Click on the giant blue button, and this generator will give you an opening line inspired by careful analysis of classic openers. The secret to writing a compelling opener is creating a story within a single line. And that’s something the makers of this generator understand.
Keep clicking until one of the options gets you thinking. Then brainstorm as many follow-up ideas as you can.
This generator gives you ten opening line ideas right away. Below them, you can select the number of new opening lines or ask them to suggest a number. Click on “Write me an opening line” to generate as many or as few openers as you like.
On the left, you’ll see their “Top 10 Generators,” including “Character Name” and “Rap Lyrics.” On the right, you’ll see “Newest Generators,” including “Pirate Name” and “Coronavirus Activity.”
The Writing Exercsies website has a wide selection of content generators, including this one for random first lines. You can also find a rhyming dictionary (in case you prefer traditional, rhyming poetry), as well as generators for plots and random bits of dialogue.
Click on “Generate a First Line” as many times as necessary to find something you can use to get started.
If you had to choose one first line generator from the selection in this post, which ones spoke to you the loudest?
Or have you already started writing something that has you brimming with creative energy and excitement?
If this will be a long story, remember to do yourself a favor and stop for the day when you still want to keep going.
When you already have an idea of what happens next, sitting back down to it is much easier.