One of my critique groups held a story challenge in 2011. We drew slips of paper with the names of an object and a place, and had to create a short story around them. This year one of the suggestions for the challenge is to start with the same first line.
As I scan my writing area, covered with scraps of paper like a forest floor littered with leaves, I wonder if I could use a first line challenge as a way of tidying up before the new year. Perhaps I could tell myself a tale of tragedy: “She took the remains of an old to-do list and noted the items left undone.” Each new scrap of paper would become another plot point in the story. If I were clever, I would turn on a tape recorder as I cleaned and by the end of an hour would have a neater desk and the beginnings of another short story.
Perhaps I could plan a picture book around the artfully created piles: “The soul of design is found in its instability.” I recently saw a book of grocery lists – just random grocery lists. The author had acquired hundreds of lists, photographed them, and published a book. That I almost bought, and someone else surely will.