Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Writerly Wednesday...Opening Lines

What makes a Is it the lovely cover? The author's name? I will admit to being lured in by a sexy or enigmatic that pulls at my imagination, tugs at my desire to be lost in that world. And there are certain authors - Christine Feehan, Nora Roberts, Rick Riordan, Kay Hooper - that I will buy without even looking at the blurb of the book.

But what if I don't know them?

The key to dragging me - or any reader - into a story is the opening line.

We all know these:
  • Call me Ishmael.  ~Moby Dick
  • All this happened, more or less.  ~Slaughterhouse-Five
  • You better not tell nobody but God.  ~The Color Purple
  • Marley was dead: to begin with.  ~A Christmas Carol
  • Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.  ~Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

But what about these?
  • The girl was just plain amazing with a knife.  ~Mercy by Julie Garwood
  • It crawled along the air that hung heavy as wet wool over the glade.  ~Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts
  • Swirling mist veiled the mountains and crept into the deep forest, stringing layers of white through the snow-laden trees.  ~Dark Slayer by Christine Feehan

I am in awe at the emotion, the imagery, that these authors can create with so few words. So, I took the opportunity to look back at my own do I measure up when compared to them?

  • "Benjamin." Joan's urgent whisper scarcely made it out of the little black box on his desk.  ~Jack's Way
  • Joel Raner pushed through the front door of his family’s accounting firm, glancing at his watch.  ~Chocolate Dreams
  • The ringing of the telephone hit Reese Andrew’s nerves like a tap on a live wire.  ~Holding On

Not too bad. But I had a couple others that I wished I had lopped off the first sentence or two and started there...or even rearranged them a smidge to give a more dramatic entrance.

Since I am more of a compact writer, I've made it my goal this year to focus more on the impact of my words. I have purchased a couple new craft books and have pulled open my library to focus on the writers I would like to emulate.

So the question I have...what book do you absolutely love? And what is its first line?

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