Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Following Up on Great First Lines

"You've got to have a great first line."

Well, duh. But it's tricky stuff, this writing first lines. They have to go somewhere. No matter how great the first line is, by definition, it's the start of something. The writer must build on it... apparently, that's easier said than done.

Here's a great first-line:

None of this that I'm about to tell you would have happened if my mother hadn't found that squirrel in the toilet.

--The Middle of Somewhere by J.B. Cheaney
Random House Children's Books, 2007
Pretty good, eh?

It hooked me, but not for long.

I made it through the squirrel chase and ensuing battle/injury. (To say more would ruin the surprise.) But after that, the book fell flat. And as it turned out, the squirrel wasn't anything more than a hook. I felt sort of cheated.

We readers - even YA readers - can be demanding and picky. I better remember that...I'm gearing up for another submittal (vegetables) and revision (historical novel). Wish me luck!

1 comment:

Siegfried Emmelmann said...


Aw, this was a very good post. Finding the time and actual effort to make a great article… but what can I say… I put things off a whole lot and never seem to get anything done. craigslist knoxville