Sample Idea List: 10 Possible First Sentences for a Work of Fiction

I write 10 ideas a day to exercise my “idea muscle.”

The idea of the “10 ideas” exercise is not to produce good or bad ideas but just to exercise the creativity muscle. To become an idea machine.

They don’t have to be business ideas. Or actionable ideas. It’s just exercise. It’s just to get stronger every day.

Yesterday’s list was a list of cards for a game I’m making (my experiment of the week).

I’m sometimes asked to post my idea list. Although this list might seem inconsequential (I’ll never use these for anything), it took me a good 30 minutes. Every day that you write 10 ideas, your creativity muscle is exercised.

But I had fun writing these down. My only rule was to avoid clichés and passive language and try to have a sense of cliffhanger in that first line.


My wife asked me to check the barbecue so we could start feeding our guests so I went outside, went to my Prius, drove out of my suburban driveway, down the street, onto the highway, and I never went back and I guess by now you all know what happened next.

The convention split in half and only hate was gluing it all together, until they selected me, an unknown governor of a tiny state, to be the vice president of the United States, a job I was not only unqualified for (even less so than Millard Fillmore in 1848), but I knew even then that I would eventually be exposed.

That was when I installed the keystroke logger on her phone to log and send to me every keystroke, every password, every message, every text kiss she would send to god knows who and why — but I’ll find out.

Jon was riding his bike, late for dinner, and didn’t see the car following him while the sun dimmed and didn’t see the man getting out and didn’t see the bat swinging and was unconscious by the time he was put in the trunk.

The Post said I was worth over $3 billion but I was thinking how they were off by a billion or so when I stared out at the crowd of strangers who had no idea who I was and did my first open mic of standup comedy — the first step that would bring me to ruin.

Imagine being born without eyes, being 16, only knowing voices as echoes, and then they put in the implants and suddenly all the mysteries of you and you and you and YOU became real and ugly and I knew then that the rest of my life would drown in disgust.

And then he realized something in the middle of our conversation, “You don’t know, do you? You really don’t know?” and he told me that Shmiddy, who I meant to call back (I swear it!), had killed himself last month.

Dear Diary, I really, really considered it, even tasted it, not just thought it, but really imagined — the bag over my head, held tight at the neck by a rubber band, stopping all air as I breathed in and out, the cuts to my wrists while red ink spurted out, the bathtub filling up, and I thought what Maya would say (would she laugh?) the next day when she heard at school.

Today my first client died.

“If you wake up next to him and realize you don’t care if he’s there or not, then you should end it,” is what Apple told me but I didn’t end it that morning, or the next day, or the next, and by then, a god came down from nowhere and changed him into who he is.

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