Introducing my new project: The Opening Sentence

This blog has been sorely neglected over the last six months: just four posts since January 2012. I blame my full-time job as editor of Lifehacker Australia. I love the work but it’s a lot of words to craft each day, and what energy I might have once had for blogging often ends up as either narky posts on my Twitter feed or in Lifehacker posts which might once have easily run here.

I’m not saying random pop culture and travel stuff won’t continue to appear on the blog if I suddenly get the urge, but I’m going to test a different approach over the next few weeks. Ever since first taking part in NaNoWriMo in 2010, I’ve been keen on writing fiction. (You can read the opening chapter of my 2010 effort and the pitch for my 2011 project right here on the blog.)

I already have a plan for my 2012 NaNoWriMo creation, but I figure my writing muscles need more regular exercise before November. I remember Helen Garner arguing at the Sydney Writer’s Festival a few years ago that doing some form of creative writing every day was excellent discipline, even if you didn’t end up using it. I write thousands of words of journalism every day, but my skills in fiction writing aren’t developed to the same level. So I need to practise outside the context of a planned 50,000+ word work.

Hence The Opening Sentence. In my fiction ideas list, I have dozens of half-sketched concepts and possible opening lines for stories. I’m going to grab a different one of these each day and spend at least 15 minutes developing it. If I’m enthused and want to write for a bit longer, I can, but whatever the length and the quality, I will publish the result right here on this blog.

How long will this last? Either until I run out of opening sentences, an idea grabs me so strongly that I decide to keep working on it, or I collapse with exhaustion. I hope it’s not the last, as that will be dispiriting. Comments, as always, will be welcome.

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