First Line Catches the Reader
Ever hear the phrase The Early Bird Catches the Worm? The writer’s twist would be:
The First Line Catches the Reader
They – the seasoned writers and professionals – say that the first line of any story is the one that gets the reader’s attention and keeps them reading. Of course. Makes sense, right? But I’ve been finding that many indie authors are
overlooking this very important lesson. I can’t tell you how many indie books I’ve been asked to read where the beginning of the book just totally didn’t do it for me. The only reason I’d continued on was because of obligation to the author who asked me for an honest review. Then much to my surprise, the book found its momentum and completely thrilled me.
I work a daily exercise that I created for myself called First Lines. Each evening after my daily word count on my current novel is met, I open my little blue notebook titled NEW IDEAS and leaf through the hundreds of ideas that I’ve jotted down. I pick whichever one resonates with me at that particular time and then open another little notebook, this one red and titled FIRST LINES, and write that idea at the top of a blank page. Then I sip my coffee with my eyes closed and let the stories unfold.
I have so many favorite parts of my writing day, and this is one of the best. Though not every New Idea pans out, I get to watch many mini-movies that I alone created, even though I’m the only one who will ever see them. Of course, then there are those I feel the world should see, too. That’s the New Idea I’ll work a First Line for. I work it, then work it again. I play with it over and over until I think it’s the best it can be. That’s it. I don’t go any further with that story other than the first line. That’s for another time in another notebook titled FIRST PARAGRAPHS.
Here are a few examples of some first lines. Of course it only seems fitting that I add mine. I think it’s a good, anyway.
She’d been rescued, that’s what they said, only she didn’t feel rescued, she felt captured. — Dee Ann Waite, The Consequential Element (2013)
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813)
A screaming comes across the sky. – Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow (1973)
I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. – Dodie Smith, Capture the Castle (1948)
Check out these links for more ideas:
Do you have a list of First Lines? What are some of your favorites, either written by you, or by an author you admire?
Keep on scribbling!