Wednesday, August 3, 2011

First things first

Posted by Melanie Bennett at 8:25 PM
I'm obsessed with Project Runway. As in I wish Tim Gunn lived in my closet or was maybe a miniature real live human Christmas ornament I could hang on my tree.

I'm really kind of obsessed with any reality show where people have to be good at something (I'm judging you, Big Brother, oh yes I am) but this is especially true of Project Runway, probably because there's a majorly creative element that you don't see in a straight up singing show (I love those too, though.)

Anyway, a few days ago I stumbled across something that tickled me as both a writer and a blogger, which is a recap blog by previous Project Runway contestants, all of whom I remember and (mostly) enjoy (not you, Laura Bennett, Mistress Meany Pants of Stuckupington).

Five former contestants from different seasons weigh in on each episode and it fascinates me to see what each of them focuses on and how they communicate it. Most of them blog exactly like I remember their personalities being on the show, except for Mychael Knight (Mr. Atlanta Urban) who comes off differently than I would have expected. The differences start with their titles, when all five of them are blogging the same episode but range from "When the Sheet Hits the Fan" to "Project Runway 9 Premiere Episode Recap."

And then you move to the opening lines. Some go for more of a fact by fact summary and some are clearly trying to entertain you. Check out the opening lines from each blog:

Peach Carr starts this way: Well, kids ... time to take a shot of pity-party mouthwash and rinse out the bad taste that the Season 8 Project Runway finale shocker left in your mouths.

But Mychael Knight starts this way: I'm baaaaack! This time as a spectator of this fascinating fashion menagerie of "Project Runway," I finally get a chance to be on the administering end of the comments, thoughts and constructive/creative critiques.

Nick Verreos starts this way: Gather your friends, uncork the red wine, get some crudités and put your best skinny jeans on

And then you've got Laura Bennett: The season starts out with a sort of designer speed dating where we get a quick meet-and-greet of 20 potential contestants.

And finally Johnathan Kayne: Ladies and gentlemen, start your sewing machines and get ready!!!!!!! "

See? Totally different voices from the very first sentence. Laura's lucky I stuck around after her boring first sentence but she ended up making some interesting points. Peach is the one I'd most want to share a couch with to watch this on the DVR. Nick is who my coolest friends would hang out with. Johnathan (from the dramatic spelling of his name all the way down the line) is just trying to dang hard. And Mychael? Meh.

I sometimes judge a book by it's cover but I always judge a book by it's first paragraph. My husband buys his books almost exclusively based on that criteria. He says the master is Chuck Palahnuik. (Yes, I'm too lazy to Google the correct spelling. SORRY.)

But I can't go forward with a story until I have a great first line. It can and often does change later but those are the ones that are burned into my memory because I just loved them so much when they came to me.

From The List: I needed Matt Gibson in a bad way.

From Not My Type: A handful of mayonnaise makes a decent projectile in a pinch.

From Belles and Beaux: There's gross and then there's gross.

From Twitterpated: The rolled up yoga mat bounced off of my roommate's head with a satisfying thwack.

That last one will change, but see what I mean? I love a great first line.

Hook me, baby, and I won't even fight it when you reel me in.


Jolene Perry on August 3, 2011 at 10:34 PM said...

Someone once told me that happiness is fleeting, but joy sticks with you, holds onto you, and fills you up. The fact that my name is Joy is sort of a lesson in irony.

Those are the first (2, yes, I always cheat) lines of the book that got me an agent.

I LOVE first lines, but I honestly try not to think about mine, and then someone like you, will make me all self-conscious about them again...

Also - LOVE Project Runway - it's the one thing I miss about not having TV. Thank goodness for Netflix...

Brittany on August 4, 2011 at 8:35 AM said...

Is PR back on??? My sojourn in the country has left me totally disconnected to what is happening in real life. Or on reality TV. Going to go revise my first line now. And figure out my parents DVR, so I don't miss anymore PR.

Karen Peterson on August 10, 2011 at 12:04 PM said...

I used to love Project Runway, but I haven't watched it in eons.

I'm totally with you on first lines and paragraphs. They really do set the tone for a story and if I'm not immediately sucked in, it sometimes is hard for me to be motivated to finish.

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