Wednesday, July 3, 2013

First Lines and Last Lines

Yesterday at a writing day, I tried Anna J. Boll’s suggestion for analyzing the first lines of each chapter. The goal of the exercise is to keep the reader turning pages. 

I cut and pasted the first line of every chapter into a new document. Not only did I have a mini representation of my novel contained in a single page, I also got to compare patterns. I highlighted forms of the verb “to be” in yellow and references to time in purple. I underlined looser sentences. Then I started revising. In the end I rewrote most of the sentences. To be fair, I rewrote most of the opening paragraphs.  

Then I did the same thing with the last lines in each chapter, keeping an eye on how frequently I ended with a cliffhanger, irony or other enticements to keep reading. I found Anna’s technique to be an extremely effective revising tool. 

Also, thank you Gina and Juliet for posting another of my pictures on City Muse Country Muse.

1 comment:

Kim Van Sickler said...

And face it, that way of editing is more "fun" than just straight through line edits. [Yawn.]