Future First Line Contest—2017

Future First Line Contest—2017

George Orwell picked the year for his novel 1984 by inverting the last two numbers of the then-current year, 1948. So let’s do the same here in 2017, and say you’re writing a novel set in 2071.

Now, we want you to give us the first line of that novel.

Paranoia is in the air these days, and that may take you in a dystopian direction. But that’s not the only way. You may hint at near-future technology, ecology, housing, food, fashion, pop culture, or something else. And your line doesn’t have to make it obvious we’re in the future, though it should be inspired by the time period.

Whoever writes the first line that most intrigues us about their near-future will receive a free Gotham class of his or her choosing.

You can actually use more than one sentence, but there is a limit of 27 words.

Like many writers, Stephen King works tirelessly on his first lines, saying, “My first sentences stick with me. They were a doorway I went through.”

As inspiration, here are some great first lines from near-future stories:

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
1984, George Orwell

Everyone my age remembers where they were and what they were doing when they first heard about the contest.
Ready Player One, Ernest Cline

A merry little surge of electricity piped by automatic alarm from the mood organ beside his bed awakened Rick Deckard.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick

We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.
The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

It was a pleasure to burn.
Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

Deadline: November 28, 2017, midnight Eastern Time

The Details:

  • Submit an original, unpublished opening.
  • Entries must be submitted online by midnight Eastern Time November 28, 2017. Only online entries will be accepted.
  • Entry is free. Limit one entry per person.
  • Entry must consist of no more than 27 words. Longer entries will be disregarded.
  • Entry must be original and unpublished.
  • Entries will be judged on originality, quality, spelling, and grammar.
  • Gotham will post the winning entry at GothamWriters.com.
  • The winner will be notified by December 19, 2017.