As an aspiring author there always seemed to be a lot of emphasis placed on the beginning of a book, particularly the first line to immediately grab the reader’s attention. And when you’re ‘aspiring’, that was an editor or an agent. I can’t recall the number of times I either saw this stated and emphasized online or at workshops during writing conferences. When I thought about this post, I tried to think of books whose first lines had been riveting, had grabbed at me right off the bat. Know what? I couldn’t think of a single one LOL. Nothing that stuck with me enough to be in the recall banks, anyway.
As a published author I spend a great deal of time on the opening of a book. It’s important to set the tone and I want to engage the reader as quickly as possible. I tend to start a book in the middle of something. No long, descriptive narrative for me! It’s not the way I write and not the way I like to read. As such, that first line to me as a writer is key.
First lines from my own books:
“Christ, he was a sick fuck.” – PICTURE THIS (and he really is, but Jillian sorts him out)
“Yes, yes, Rio, yes…oh…God, yes…” – PAY UP (Yes, that’s really what you think it sounds like)
“Crap.” – PLAY ME (LOL. Yeah, that’s the kind of day Lily was having)
“Don’t worry about making a fool of yourself.” – POINT BLANK (It’s Lanie’s mantra. And it works!)
“This was the life. Or it would be if this kind of crap was anything he cared about.” – RISE OF HOPE, coming August 2012
It was fun to go back and take a look at these because it’s important for me to set the tone of the book with that first line and to build a relationship with the reader immediately. Even if no one ever remembers a single one .
So…what’s some of your favorite first lines or book openings? Or do you even notice them?
BTW, the pic? Completely unrelated to the topic, but OMG, right? Enjoy .