The best fake #NaNoWriMo opening lines

Every year, one hashtag takes us to dizzying new literary heights.


Miles Klee

Internet Culture

Published Nov 1, 2013   Updated Jun 1, 2021, 2:49 am CDT

Ah, National Novel Writing Month. It’s like a writing retreat for people who hate to write. Participants start typing on Nov. 1 with the intention of completing a 50,000-word manuscript by the time December rolls around, at which point the slush piles of editors and literary agents become entirely unmanageable. All the while, they issue social media updates on their progress, trade tips, and celebrate the orgy of perceived creativity that is NaNoWriMo. There’s also lots of talk about something called caffeine. Maybe you’ve heard of it?

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It’d be easy to mock the idea of novel-writing as communal feel-good sport or self-help prescription—and so, every year, Weird Twitter does just that, using the beloved hashtag #NaNoWriMoOpeners to lampoon these amateur forays into prose. Think of it as an off-kilter twin to the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, which challenges authors to pen the worst possible opening sentence for a book. Needless to say, people were excited:

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i’ve been waiting all year for this hashtag yall #NaNoWriMoOpeners

— DESTROYMAN (@topbunkwanter) October 31, 2013

Naturally, there are the painfully expositional genre-based entries:

#NaNoWriMoOpeners It’s the future and puberty is space-illegal.

— Cullen Crawford (@HelloCullen) November 1, 2013

Dave awoke in a fantastical world where everyone’s names were basically English names but with a letter changed #NaNoWriMoOpeners

— Mike Sacc-O’-Lantern (@mikesacco) November 1, 2013

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Quite a few include some hallucinatory vision of President Barack Obama (or rival politicians):

An exhausted, BBQ-drenched Obama strode up to the podium. “We did it. My fellow Americans, the McRib is back. Forever.” #NaNoWriMoOpeners

— Horton Atonto (@crushingbort) November 1, 2012

Mitt Romney opens his Toshiba laptop & launches Sim City. “Time for some Air Force fun” he says while sipping a Pepsi #NaNoWriMoOpeners

— lawblob (@lawblob) November 1, 2013

Others embraced the NaNoWriMo’s Internet angle:

This was to be the most important day of my life. I would be accepted into Reddit or I would overdose on memes trying #NaNoWriMoOpeners

— Lord of the Skulls (@scrublord) November 1, 2013

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“If, on a WordPress night, a blogger,” he blogged. #NaNoWriMoOpeners

— Jeb Lund (@Mobute) November 1, 2013

But let’s not forget fan fiction, always a NaNoWriMo staple:

#NaNoWriMoOpeners “Aaliyah listen, we have to get off this plane now,” said Tupac. “Of existence,” he added while jamming the controls.

— Hamsandwrimo (@hamsandcastle) November 1, 2013

There I was, about to perform my very first circumcision, and on none other than Tommy from Rugrats #NaNoWriMoOpeners

— Löwenäffchen (@Lowenaffchen) November 1, 2012

The hover-train crash had left hundreds dead and mangled. There were only two survivors: me, and the dog from Wishbone. #NaNoWriMoOpeners

— stefan (@boring_as_heck) November 1, 2012

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the Olsen twins giggled and held hands as they watched James Bond struggle with his chains. tonight would last forever #NaNoWriMoOpeners

— hell_homer (@hell_homer) November 1, 2012

The best submissions, however, were probably the ones that hit a bit too close to home:

I didn’t care about anything. I was a 17 year old nihilist. And yes, nihilists are cool #nanowrimoopeners

— Cannonball Titcomb (@thatsnotkosher) November 1, 2012

Photo by Erica Fkiaras/Flickr

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*First Published: Nov 1, 2013, 4:30 pm CDT