First Impressions with First Lines

Once upon a time. . . it was tradition to begin a story with those words. Today, making first impressions with first lines is a skill all authors need. Today’s reader will accept the “once upon a time” opening only for a certain type of story. Other types of stories need a different style of opening. But regardless of the genre or style of fiction, the beginning of the book is critical. In fact, often readers will pick up a book at the library or store and read the first few paragraphs before taking the book home. If the first lines grab the reader, the book goes home. On the other hand, if the first lines of the book make the reader go ‘bleh ‘ the book is put down and never opened again. If you ‘ve written and rewritten first lines and first chapters of your book, trying to achieve that perfect first impression and are still struggling to create a great opening, it ‘s time to step away from the manuscript for a little study session. Studying First Lines For our purposes here, I ‘m going to arbitrarily define the opening of the story as the first 100 […]

Do the Pros Measure Up to the Lucky 7 Meme?

I had a lot of fun with the Lucky 7 Meme that swept through the blogosphere not too long ago, but it made me think. Would the blogging game work for published work?  In other words, do the Pros measure up? Remember, you go to page 77, down 7 lines, and share 7 lines or paragraphs. Granted, the page numbers and line numbers would be different than on manuscript pages, but I could not let it go. I had to see how some of my favorites measured up. So, for this post, I chose five different science fiction books one each by Frank Herbert, Orson Scott Card, Madeleine L’Engle, Dean R. Koontz, and Margaret Atwood. Dune by Frank Herbert “There are men in the great hall say they’ve been sent by the Duke to get young master Paul,” Mapes said. “They’ve the ducal signet and the guard has identified them.” She glanced at the door, back to Jessica. A cautious one, this Mapes, Jessica thought. That’s a good sign. “He’s in the fifth room from this end of the hall, the small bedroom,” Jessica said. “If you have trouble waking him, call in Dr. Yueh in the next room. Paul […]