Do you consider the first line to be an important part of a story? If so, why?
Of course! I think first lines both draw the reader into the story AND set a tone for what’s to come as far as both story and narrator are concerned. I don’t think anyone would STOP reading because of a bad first line, but a good one can certainly make someone want to read on!
Do you find first lines easy to come up with, or challenging? Do you have a technique, or a ritual, that you go by to make it easy?
I don’t necessarily find them challenging – for me, the beginning of a novel is so much better than the end. I find last lines infinitely harder to write than first ones.
What consequences, if any, do you think there are in having a badly written first line?
Hmm. Like I said above, I doubt anyone would stop reading a book over a first line that was bad or didn’t grab them. But it might make your book easier to put down, and that’s never a good thing.
What’s your favourite first line that you’ve ever read? And can you recall a worst?
I really love
I’m standing at the edge of existence.
(Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts) and
My mother used to tell me about the ocean.
(The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan)
What is one of your own best first lines?
I knew from a young age that I should never have been born.
We’re all sharing here! What’s one of your worst first lines?
Mari. Marisol. Wake up.
(Yep, the dreaded waking up scene).
What are some things a first line *shouldn’t* be? What are some things that you’ve read in first lines that really rubs you the wrong way?
Obviously the cliché of the character waking up is way overdone. Personally I’m not a fan of jumping in with dialogue, either, between characters we don’t know.
Do you have any suggestions for other authors on how to write a great first line? Have you heard any great advice yourself?
I think in general, if you’re having a hard time with your first line, I’d say take a good, hard look at whether or not the story is starting in the right place. Fixing it may be as simple as that.
Raised by a family of ex-farmers and/or almost rock stars from Northeastern Iowa, I’ve always loved to tell stories. After graduating from Texas Christian University with a degree in Film, I began to search for a way to release the voices in my head. IWhen I attempted my first YA novel, which would become Whispers in Autumn, I was hooked. I knew then my heart lay with telling stories about and for young adults, and for anyone who loves to read and recapture those fleeting “first” moments.
My spare time is spent reviewing television and movies, spending time with my large, loud, loving family, reading any book that falls into my hands, and being dragged into the fresh air by my dogs Yoda and Jilly.