The Most Boring Opening Sentence… Maybe Ever.

I’m working on a revision of an essay I’m both preparing for workshop in class next week, and planning to test drive at a reading on Saturday night. This piece grew out of an in-class writing exercise where I adopted the structure of Katherine Riegel’s essay, “Silence.”

For those who may be reading who aren’t part of our 505 class, each section of the essay begins with “This is about…” and each section takes on the different perspectives those in the story might have of one event. I wanted to capture this feel, the writing of one moment in time from varied perspectives. Now that I’m working on a revised draft, I’m trying to break the scaffolding I set up by borrowing the framework of Riegel’s essay.

I’m finding the most difficult part to be my entry (and exit, but that’s a whole new conversation) into this one moment in time. my first draft of this essay began “This is about a boy I tried to love.” Not the most original sentence in the world, but it did, in a way encapsulate the entire moment, sum up the experience I was about to write about in the most simple of terms.

Now the structure I’m working with keeps all of the story, all of the perspectives inside the confines of a car on the road to Vegas…but now this essay has the most boring opening sentence…maybe ever, and I don’t want that sentence to be the first thing I read on Saturday.

So I’m asking for a little pre-workshop help from anyone who has suggestions or recommendations. I’ll post the first two paragraphs as they’re working right now, and if anyone is interested in reading the whole draft for me before I read on Saturday, please let me know; I’d love the feedback.

Dan and I were settled into his brand new silver sedan, headed for a Hospitality Job Fair in Vegas.  I’m positive he had no idea I’d been working toward a moment like this one for a just over a year. My off-hand recommendation that we should drive down together and hand out some resumes, do some networking sounded nothing like “Hey babe, why don’t we blow this town and go spend the weekend in a hotel room in Sin City.” Anything that direct would have sent the boy running, and that was nowhere in my plan.

Along with finishing my hotel management degree, getting married was on my list of things to do, and meeting Dan allowed me to multi-task. (I’m nothing if not efficient.) He was twenty-eight and never been kissed.  Before he could drink his Dr. Pepper from the vending machine outside our Hospitality Management Theory classroom, he shook it up and cracked the cap to let most of the carbonation hiss away. “I have to get rid of the bubbles,” he’d tell me when I looked at him sideways, as if drinking flat soda was perfectly normal and I was the one acting strangely. We sat together in a couple of classes, trading management strategies and front desk horror stories. After that he didn’t seem to notice how often we were together or that I had chosen him.

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2 Responses to The Most Boring Opening Sentence… Maybe Ever.

  1. brownc67 says:

    Have you thought about continuing to use some of the “this is about” scaffolding, but just less of it? I like the line “This is about a boy I tried to love.” Maybe it could just start and end with a “this is about.” If you were to submit it for publication, you could still attribute that phrase/inspiration to Katherine Riegel.

  2. Ditto to what Chanel said! Also look at verbs. Anytime you have a “were” or “was” you can scrutinize and see if a more vibrant verb can take its place. This kind of fine tuning can sharpen all sentences, boring or otherwise!

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