Monday, August 25, 2008

Happy Anniversary, Dude: Day 1

This week marks one year since I first posted on The Dashner Dude, named in honor of my great-great-grandfather, who wrote a weekly newspaper article in South Carolina under the name Grandpa Dude.

To celebrate, we're going to have 5 days of giveaways. Sorry, no cruises, no cars, no money. Just boring old books, and one grand prize.

The Rules:

Each day this week, I will throw out some kind of a thingamajig for which you'll need to leave a comment to enter the contest. Each day will have a winner. Then, at the end of the week, I will choose one grand prize winner. You can comment each day, making your name 5 times more likely to win the grand prize. Pretty simple.

The prizes:

Daily Winner: An Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of THE HUNT FOR DARK INFINITY, Book 2 of THE 13TH REALITY. These will be available in November, and it means you'll get to read it several months before everyone else.

Grand Prize: You'll also receive an ARC in November, plus you'll be sent a copy of THE MAZE RUNNER next week, for which I'll seek your feedback. This means your name will be in the acknowledgements section of the final book, to be published by Random House in Fall 2009. It also means I'll get your help. See how selfish I am?

Any questions? 5 daily winners, 1 grand prize winner, 6 total winners. The daily winners will be eligible for the grand prize. If one of them wins it, I'll give out another ARC to someone, so that 6 go out for sure. Make sense?

Okay, today's topic for the comments: You see all the time these contests for bad first lines of books. So funny, hardy har har. For mine, I want GOOD ones. If you are a writer, give us the first line (not necessarily just one sentence, but what you consider your opening punch) of something you've written. If you're a reader, give us one from a favorite book of yours. If you're neither, post a picture of you dressed up like Abe Lincoln in a clown suit.

Here's mine to start us off, the opening line of THE MAZE RUNNER (as it currently stands, bet it changes):

The boy began his new life standing up, surrounded by cold darkness and stale, dusty air. Things got worse.

Have at it!


Melinda said...

What the hey. I'll join. Here goes:

My life history reads like a seismograph chart: a record of tremors and disturbances, most of them unseen, but still deeply felt.

Anonymous said...

I'm a reader (since none of the first lines I can think of are any good) so I'll cite Pride and Prejudice as my favorite:

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."

Says so much about the book in just one sentence. Love those.

Anna said...

There you are Mr. Dude! (I wrote that. heh heh.)

“North, wake up!” I opened my eyes. Thicket was standing over me, his shaggy red hair falling over his forehead. His green eyes were wide with excitement or fear, I couldn't tell which.

Jewel Allen said...

The opening line in my suspense novel:

"There's a ghost moon tonight."

-Jewel Allen

Deren Hansen said...

Dingo had always wondered what the munchkin meant when he said that the witch was not just merely dead but really most sincerely dead. Now he knew.

buttercup said...

THE PRINCESS BRIDE by William Golding. "This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it."

Cheryl said...

Here's mine:

Limes. Fresh! Cut on wood of bamboo. That was the smell. I sniffed again –was it…salt? Salt and lime and bamboo…why did I smell something akin to margaritas? I had never had a margarita. How did I know the smell of margaritas? And how the heck did I know the definition of a margarita? I opened my eyes.

Tamra Norton said...

Here's the first line of my children's novel, Make Me a Memory:

It's not a smart thing to spit out window of a moving car. Of course, I learned this the hard way.

Unknown said...

This is a great thing to comment on, since I only start writing books, I never finish!

"It looked glamorous on TV, but now that I have been "on the job" for 42 and a half minutes I know there is nothing glamorous about being a lifguard."

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

I want to win so badly I'm freaking myself out a bit.

Okay, here's the line from my work in progress.

"It began as a whisper."

Hmm...lacks punch, doesn't it?

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

Oh, and Happy Bloggiversary!

Rebecca McKinnon said...

Nothing to get people to comment like free books! Here's the opening of my work in progress:

Even from the depths of oblivion my subconscious was aware that something wasn’t right. My mind struggled to the surface, sluggishly searching, trying to discover what had changed. It was hard to focus with the birds singing discordantly. Seriously, did they have to hit the quartertones?

Brian said...

Wind howled through the night, carrying a scent that would change the world.

-Eragon, by Christopher Paolini

This was always one of my favorite lines.

Alysa Stewart said...

Here's a favorite of mine, coming straight to you from Scott Westerfeld's Uglies:

"The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit."

Suzy - Q said...

She smelled like fruit.


Anonymous said...

Any chance to win a free book ... *g*

Any minute now, Lucas thought, leaning back in his chair and watching Lina put the entire spoonful of ice cream in her mouth. It was a hot June evening in London, and many establishments, including ice cream parlours, had put tables and chairs outside on the pavement. Lucas had picked Lina up from work and convinced her to come savour a cold treat to combat the unusually sunny weather. Now she slowly and luxuriously sucked the ice cream from the spoon, and when it was empty, she dipped it again into the glass bowl. Lucas followed her movements with anticipation. She hadn't yet found the treasure, and there wasn't much ice cream left. Any minute ... now!

"Ewww!" Lina ripped the spoon from her mouth, bent over, and, to Lucas' horror, spat the mouthful onto the pavement. The diamond ring that he had so carefully arranged to be included in her ice cream sundae landed in a wet, unappetizing blob between two tables, where a passing customer promptly stepped on it.

Melanie Goldmund

Anonymous said...

Good prompt, James! Here you go:

"It was undeniably the first time the Grabby clan had been all together in one room, ever; all it took to convince them to congregate was $378 million dollars."

Peggy Eddleman said...

"I was in a dark clearing in a small forest, surrounded by people yet feeling utterly alone; the only thought in my mind kept repeating itself, 'Pick me! Pick me!'"


Congrats on the anniversary!
And, the book signing on Saturday was AWESOME! My kids and I loved it.

Jennifer said...

I'm a reader with lots of favorites but here is an good one from the O'Malley Chronicles by Dee Henderson: "Where had he put the dynamite? He shoved aside cobwebs striking his face, moving deeper on his belly into a crawl space that ony rats should inhabit."

Daron D. Fraley said...

I really like this one:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Genesis 1:1

Worldbuilder Robin said...

Eram pushed his way through the doors into the greasy inn, the smell of cooking food filling the air. He threw back the hood of his traditionally mud-brown traveler's cloak, revealing black, wavy hair, which he ran his fingers through with a sigh of frustration. Discouragement and hunger vied for his attention as he struggled to ignore both and utterly failed. He sighed, momentarily letting discouragement win. Again. So much for finding a Master today. Again.

What do you think?

Q said...

I never win anything, but GOSH DARN IT I WANT THIS.

First line: "I was beautiful, once. I can still sometimes see it--in the slope of my nose, the rise in my cheekbones, the curve of my eyelashes--but everything else is concealed by the mottled wrinkles of age."

James Dashner said...

Hey, I'm very impressed with some of these openers. Way to go, people!

John Ferguson said...

Here's one of each. The first line from one of my works, The Offer:

"Your offer of employment is very generous," Mark Thornton said. "I just have one condition. That you stop trying to kill me."

And, here's the beginning from a fun ghost story I just finished.

"The Wilkinson family became ghosts quite suddenly during the Second World War when a bomb fell on their house."

Oh, and congratulations.


J.N. Future Author said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J.N. Future Author said...


mines a poem that will be featured as the first page of my book. (check my blog, its really short, but its from the heart!)

Anonymous said...

"Norbert Johnson had never met such strange people in all his life, much less two on the same day--within the same hour even. Odd. Very odd indeed."

Oh, brown-nosing doesn't work? Well, here's the opening from my short story "Trust Mother's Instinct"

"Auma groaned as Krysla woke with a high pitched screech, shaking her head back and forth in Auma’s arms. This was the tenth time that she’d woken up in the past two hours. Auma hadn’t even moved to put Krysla into her cradle. She kept her hands tucked underneath Krysla’s wiggling body, refraining the urge to shake her infant and yell, 'What’s wrong with you? Why won’t you sleep for longer than ten minutes? It’s ten-thirty. I need to sleep too!'"

Anonymous said...

Remember how I saw you on Saturday, and you signed my book, and I told you I really wanted to read the next one, and you said that you were giving out ARCs on your blog? You may not remember. But I'm here. And I better win one.

Opening line:

Jake was made Prince of Niff on Wednesday, but on Sunday, while everyone was at church, he slipped out the back door.

Kennen said...

"So, there I was, tied to an altar made from outdated encyclopedias, about to get sacrificed to the dark powers by a cult of evil Librarians."
--Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians
by Brandon Sanderson

It was fun meeting you at the bookstore finally,
--Kennen *Wink* *Wink* ;)

A Paperback Writer said...

Wow. Some of you people have a really different concept of "first line" than I what I understood from the contest directions.

Okay, well, here's the current first line from one of my manuscripts:

"The last time I bit someone was two years ago in Denver."

Emmie-Lew said...

I was going to say the same as "buttercup". Princess Bride. Classic! Do I have to pick another best first line?

Cindi Lou said...

I'm just a reader, and Pride and Prejudice was already quoted so I'll quote Beauty:

"I was the youngest of three daughters. Our literal minded mother named us Grace, Hope and Honour, but few people except perhaps the minister who had baptized all three of us remembered my given name. My father still likes to tell the story of how I aquired my odd nickname..."

Shari said...

Jonas’ eyes followed the gnarled hands of the woman holding tight to the grocery cart.

Unknown said...

Here's one from a book I've been chipping away at for a while now:

Tristan hated to use the exploding bullets in a hospital parking lot, even if he was a good shot. There were just some places you didn't use an incendiary round if you had another option.

Unfortunately, his was getting away. His backup was too far out, he was out of conventional ammo, and to boot, there was a new episode of Heroes on TV in thirty minutes.

He sighed, pulled back the hammer, aimed at his target (who took cover between two ambulances) and squeezed the trigger.

Karen Pellett said...

Here is the opening from a novel that I've written:

Time was passing too quickly and Kael had no time left to spare. Frantically he continued searching the ground for the last herb he needed.

"Please, don't let it be too late," he thought desperately to himself, as he clawed at the earth. Searching on hands and knees, he sought after the final herb for the potion that might heal the woman he loved as a mother.

Stephanie Humphreys said...

I can't wait to see what other contests you have for the rest of the week. Here's a first line from one of my stories:

"The flowers are all wrong. Spring scents permeate the room and remind me of when we used to walk around the lake. The smell should be cloying, clinging to my clothes like the odor of onions to my hands, wrinkling my nose for days after I have chopped them into miniscule pieces. But everyone comments on how lovely they are. They are wrong. Flowers are about life and we are here because of death. I suppose it is appropriate, these blooms slowly withering."

Don said...

Here's the opener for a short story I'm going to write some day. Maybe some day soon.

"Bob hated himself for what he had done; hated himself more for what he he was about to do."

Karlene said...

A day late, but here goes. This is from one of the novels I hope to complete some day:

Jandría lay on her back at the top of Listening Rock staring up at Abzure, the purple moon. If Uncle knew she was here he’d skin her alive.

Marsha Ward said...

Here's the first line from my WIP:

"Do not come to Arizona. Stop. Accidents happen. Stop."

Happy Anniversary, James!

Em said...

Strangers are just family you have yet to come to know.

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