So today, on this first day of awesome, I wanted to talk about firsts. We hear it all the time as authors. You've got to hook them with your first line. The first sentence. The first paragraph, the first page, the first chapter.
I'm no different. Heck, I like to be hooked by the front cover. First sight. That kind of thing.
That said, does that mean I quit if I'm not wowed by the cover? No.
What about the first sentence? Nope, I give authors a lot longer than that to wow me. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't labor to find the exact right line to open our stories with. There is something to be said about first impressions.
Some examples of what I think works:
1. "When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold." ~The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
I love this line, because it implies that the other side of the bed shouldn't be cold, and that this MC is left wanting because they were asleep when the other person left. It's haunting and poetic at the same time.
2. "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 by J.K. Rowling.
I think this line does a decent job of convincing me to read more. I mean, it just screams of "NOT normal coming right up!" and I'm a sucker for "not normal."
3. "I used to be someone." ~The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson.
Now, it's no secret that this is one of my favorite books. Lines like this are why. There is an immediate connection to the main character, because we all want to be someone.
But I don't stop with one sentence, or one paragraph, or one page, or even one chapter. I do think firsts are important, and I do think authors should work to create the best writing and storytelling they can. The goal is that every word is in the right place, not just the first one.
Some firsts I like just by looking at them: (I have not read any of the books below, but I want to just from my first impression of seeing the cover.)
|I mean, seriously? How could you not want to read this?|
|This is seriously creeptastically eye-catching. First impression? CHECK.|
|First is the title. It's brilliant. The haunting smoke, the wind-whipped hair... I'm sold.|
Are you a creature of firsts? Do covers sell you? First pages/chapters? How long do you read before you know a book just isn't for you?