Friday, August 15, 2014

First Lines

Recently I was tagged in a Facebook game that challenged writers to post the first lines of the first three chapters in their work –in-progress then name other writers to do the same. I didn't play because I have a personal rule about not doing chain-letter type things. But I did examine the first lines of the chapters in my new project. They needed work.

It’s easy to begin a chapter with the time and place and a description of what the character is doing, but this game got me thinking about sentences that I wouldn't mind posting for all of cyberspace to read. Several of my first lines could be modified to become more compelling. A dull first line gives busy readers a chance to put the book down.

There is much written about ending chapters with a cliffhanger, a poignant moment or an unresolved subplot. That’s great, but an interesting chapter ending is only half the job. 


Vicky Lorencen said...

We think about that all important first line of a novel, and yes, how we end each chapter, but you're right, we (at least I) don't always give first lines of chapters their due. Thanks for that reminder!

Kristin Lenz said...

Many of my stories have begun with a first line that came to my mind. It usually needs to be cut or moved at some point in the revision process, but I have such a hard time letting them go.

Ann Finkelstein said...

Vicky, Sometimes near the end of my revision process, I make a list of all the first lines in a novel. It's a way to see the novel on one page, and it's a double check for how many times I start with time and place.
Kristin: It is so hard to cut, especially when the line was the inspiration.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad the challenge made you think about first words and their effect.

Ann Finkelstein said...

Kristin: This is not the first time I should thank you for making me think.