What grabs you when you're looking for a book? The cover first, perhaps? Maybe even the author's name? The title? Then maybe you read the back of the book to see what it's about. If you're still interested, you open the front cover and read the first line. If that first line is good, you get the book. If not, you might move on to something else.
A year ago November I attended a writing conference in Kansas City. One of the classes was about writing that epic first line. It's important to drawing the reader in, but before you even have readers, it's important to getting an agent and/or a publisher. I thought to celebrate the first day of a new year, I would present the first lines from some of my books. Some were written before that conference and some after. I will not which is which so you can see if the conference class helped me be more conscious about that particular trick of the trade.
These books were written before the conference.
Someone Always Loved YouSomeone Always Loved You
The bright yellow taxi took the curve on two wheels.
Beyond the Bars
It was too hot in the San Francisco apartment, but the bomb maker hardly noticed.
Jed Leida swerved to the left and laid on the horn.
Maria Miller had never been so scared in her life.
Beth Schrock had a sore throat but since she was working on sewing some new clothing that day, it didn't matter.
These lines were written after the conference.
God in the Kitchen
"You should have a moustache," the check out clerk said as she grabbed a can of soup from the conveyor belt.
(I wrote this book before the conference, but revised the beginning after.)
Wrong Place, Right Time
(to be released December 2014)
"Stop the wedding!" Kate Covington shouted a little too loudly into the small wedding chapel.
Accept this Dandelion
(under consideration for publication)
"My favorite flower," Rene Lockhart said, blinking into the bright light of the camera, "is the dandelion."
(to be written starting in January, though I have the first line and a bit more already.)
She wasn't sure what bothered her more...what she did for a living or the fact that she was getting good at it.
So there are my first lines as they stand. For the first day of the year, I hope you enjoyed them. Looking back I can definitely tell a difference before and after the conference. Before, I'd just start writing. After, I thought about it quite a bit before I jumped right in.
Happy New Year! I need to get back to writing Mamarazzi so I'll make this short!