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jenstrikesagain
10-22-2007, 04:16 AM
The thread about "where to start" gave me this idea. What's your opening line to your current WIP? Mine is:

"That was the summer his mother died and his father took him away."

Carrie in PA
10-22-2007, 04:19 AM
"Oh God, Oh God, it's her!"

nevada
10-22-2007, 04:33 AM
Bennie Camomescro knew she was in big shit but she didn’t care.

Shady Lane
10-22-2007, 04:36 AM
whos there


haha, it's a Hamlet rewrite.

reenkam
10-22-2007, 04:39 AM
I never liked rainstorms.

Yeah, I'm not sure why I made that the first line.

Azraelsbane
10-22-2007, 04:44 AM
I think there's a thread about this already. And no, that's not my opening line. ;) The opening line of the book I'm currently working on is:

I love him beyond reason, and that is the problem.

WendyNYC
10-22-2007, 04:47 AM
I started stealing from my clients by accident.

bsolah
10-22-2007, 04:47 AM
I haven't got a novel-length WIP at the moment, but I'm thinking my upcoming nano-novel will start like this.

"Can't you just go quietly this time," [MC's friend] asked, "I mean, do you have to quit every job with all guns blazing?"

mscelina
10-22-2007, 04:48 AM
The three moons were shrouded, and murder slipped through the gloom to fall upon the unawares.

I was in a bad mood that day; what can I say?

maxmordon
10-22-2007, 04:51 AM
"In one of the numerless cream-colored corridors of power at the presidential palace, it was hung all the men that ruled the fatherland before Inocencio"

JamieFord
10-22-2007, 04:54 AM
Clarence Lum rode the short bus to school every day.

III
10-22-2007, 04:58 AM
The wind strained tears from Pedro’s eyes, whipping them into the swiftly passing night.

Here's the rest of the first paragraph to give a little context:
He shifted his weight, catlike, compensating for the jerking motion of the train beneath his feet. His heartbeat matched the steady clacking of the wheels on the tracks. Even though he was two years younger than his brother Rodrigo, Pedro knew he knew he had the advantage. God had delivered his brother into his hands and now he would slay him.

Saundra Julian
10-22-2007, 05:05 AM
A bullet shattered the window and splintered a crock containing the last of Hannah’s precious milk.

Elodie-Caroline
10-22-2007, 05:05 AM
Samantha woke with a start as the telephone rang on her bedside table.



Elodie

swvaughn
10-22-2007, 05:31 AM
"You're hunting."

(That's not my current WIP, but I already posted the first line from that in another thread.)

Now, quick! Turn this thread into a discussion about first lines, before some overze--I mean, respectable and fast-thinking mod ports this thread to the desert that is Writing Prompts & Games...

I started this particular novel with a line of dialogue. With no tag! Gasp! That's against the "rules". But I think sometimes, it works.

From here on, maybe we could post our first lines along with an explanation of why we think it works (or doesn't). Explain what the payoff will be for the reader to stay with the story, and why your first line hints at that payoff. What say ye?

I think this works because it poses questions. Who's hunting? Hunting what? And, hopefully, it hints that something's going to happen really soon (which, indeed, it does).

imagoodgurl4
10-22-2007, 05:33 AM
Skyler Moore knew God created men with both a brain and a penis.


I always think first lines are the hardest. I always think it's a barometer for whether a person will keep reading or not.

WittyandorIronic
10-22-2007, 05:48 AM
"Come on, Seth. What is the point of having a friend in the cattle business if you don't ever hook me up?" I nudged him with my elbow, and smirked.

Following SWVaughn's (excellent) advice I would like to say that the pay off for the reader is that though the first 200 words or so are centered around Jack begging Seth for another "cattle", it soon becomes obvious that they are vampires, and the 'dociles' are humans. I did try to make the first bit ambiguous.
This is from my Remorseless short story. It is my first for a lot of things. First short story, first attempt to write in first person, first story about vampires. I'm kind of diggin' it. :)

Just Me 2021
10-22-2007, 06:33 AM
When she first heard the noises, she was frightened.

That's from my WIP.

My first line from my first novel is:

"Take it," Najib said in Dari, his native language. He pressed the slip of paper into his cousin's hand, wrapping it in his own.


It's cool to see how many of us have really, really good first lines. Just reading this thread is inspirational. I want to read everybody's work now! I'd better be careful or I'll end up being a beta reader and not a writer!

Kojiro
10-22-2007, 06:53 AM
It was a bright, sunny day and there wasn’t a sound that didn’t fill the air.

And with that line only, none of you will ever guess what the book is about. Ha hah haha ha ha! :e2point:

girlyswot
10-22-2007, 07:55 AM
Daniel knelt on the hard, dusty floor of the shrine.

ORION
10-22-2007, 07:58 AM
I was the only survivor.

tanzy
10-22-2007, 08:05 AM
The very first line is simple... 'It was an odd looking relic.' so I kinda cheated and gave you the following line as well..

It was an odd looking relic. Tucked away in a corner, hidden from the other treasures, the white fabric wrapping was smudged with dirt and grime.

veinglory
10-22-2007, 08:05 AM
Mine is less than thrilling:

Xeras had the brining barrel between his knees and positioned the bung over the hole on the top.

JoNightshade
10-22-2007, 09:10 AM
New WIP, new thread. I can live with that. My line (subject to change):

“What is that mark, Nora?”

For me, I like first lines that are short, convey a lot of information, and leave a lot of questions hanging. Also, the "mark" ties into the end of the first chapter and it will tie into... mmm, probably the pivotal point in the narrative. We'll see when I get there.

Elodie-Caroline
10-22-2007, 11:05 AM
This is taken from a WIP that's around three-quarters done.

Antoine De Rochefort, Detective chief inspector of the Paris Police force, came slowly walking out of the imposing doors of the Ministèrie de l’Interieur.

David I
10-22-2007, 11:17 AM
Yep, this thread's been around a few times, but here's the first line of my latest novel:



The scream of a child in agony is unmistakable, even from afar.



In any case, it's a change from the first sentence of my previous novel, which ran 61 words. I'm gettin' taciturn.

qdsb
10-22-2007, 05:15 PM
First line from my current WIP--an urban YA (yes, really):


Dazed by the heat emanating from the lava river below, he shuffled across the narrow bridge.

BruceJ
10-22-2007, 05:40 PM
"Furl the sail! By the gods, furl the sail!" Shem's hoarse shout scarcely pierced the screaming of the wind through the Ba'al Hayam's rigging.

Bufty
10-22-2007, 05:47 PM
A wooden bridge, no doubt. Or is it metal? Sizzling hot, probably. But then, whoever he is, he's probably got thick boots on and done this thousands of times before. Unless he's a stranger to these parts. Or maybe he's a lost explorer in the jungle and it's a rope bridge. Maybe the lava is far, far below - I know it's not above. Hope he's not an old man and that he's not barefooted. Tells me a lot, doesn't it.


First line from my current WIP--an urban YA (yes, really):


Dazed by the heat emanating from the lava river below, he shuffled across the narrow bridge.

Bufty
10-22-2007, 05:48 PM
Good immediate image, I thought.


"Furl the sail! By the gods, furl the sail!" Shem's hoarse shout scarcely pierced the screaming of the wind through the Ba'al Hayam's rigging.

Wraith
10-22-2007, 06:37 PM
My novel begins with a *gasp* waking up scene!
The smell of poppy had awoken him.

Will change. I don't even like the first chapter as it stands now. But all you guys' first lines are awesome! I like the way a first line sets up the atmosphere of the book (apart from my own, that is).

:D

CaroGirl
10-22-2007, 06:53 PM
Here's mine from my wip:

Hush, hush, Mama always said when I cried, and with a sweep of her thumb she would wipe my cheeks dry.

Shadow_Ferret
10-22-2007, 06:56 PM
My body was hot; it burned as if with a fever, submerged in a near scalding pool of bluish liquid and yet my head was cold, exposed to a chill wind that pelted my face with ice-cold rain like sharp painful needles.

qdsb
10-22-2007, 07:04 PM
A wooden bridge, no doubt. Or is it metal? Sizzling hot, probably. But then, whoever he is, he's probably got thick boots on and done this thousands of times before. Unless he's a stranger to these parts. Or maybe he's a lost explorer in the jungle and it's a rope bridge. Maybe the lava is far, far below - I know it's not above. Hope he's not an old man and that he's not barefooted. Tells me a lot, doesn't it.

A stone bridge, actually. More of the details are in the rest of the opening paragraph.

And the hook is in the second paragraph. ;)

qdsb
10-22-2007, 07:05 PM
My novel begins with a *gasp* waking up scene!
The smell of poppy had awoken him.

Will change. I don't even like the first chapter as it stands now. But all you guys' first lines are awesome! I like the way a first line sets up the atmosphere of the book (apart from my own, that is).

:D


I know the whole "waking" opening is verboten. But what catches me about your current opening is that I'm now obsessed with trying to figure out what poppies smell like.

Tracy
10-22-2007, 07:19 PM
I started this particular novel with a line of dialogue. With no tag! Gasp! That's against the "rules".

No it's not.

You have to follow it up quickly with some explanation, either that or keep it extremely intriguing until you offer some explanation.

But it's not against the rules.

Bufty
10-22-2007, 07:21 PM
Maybe, but I think the writer often forgets he has an image in his mind before and as he writes an opening line. I, as a reader, don't have any images in mine before I read that opening, so my growing picture will not be the same as intended unless the opening is written with clarity.


A stone bridge, actually. More of the details are in the rest of the opening paragraph.

And the hook is in the second paragraph. ;)

BruceJ
10-22-2007, 07:22 PM
I agree with qdsb, Wraith. Don't be so hard on yourself. ;)

(What do poppies smell like?)

I know the whole "waking" opening is verboten. But what catches me about your current opening is that I'm now obsessed with trying to figure out what poppies smell like.

qdsb
10-22-2007, 07:27 PM
Maybe, but I think the writer often forgets he has an image in his mind before and as he writes an opening line. I, as a reader, don't have any images in mine before I read that opening, so my growing picture will not be the same as intended unless the opening is written with clarity.

Point taken, Bufty. Thanks.

qdsb
10-22-2007, 07:30 PM
Yep, this thread's been around a few times, but here's the first line of my latest novel:



The scream of a child in agony is unmistakable, even from afar.





In any case, it's a change from the first sentence of my previous novel, which ran 61 words. I'm gettin' taciturn.



Ok, I have to say...this opening line hits me on a visceral level. I think that's probably a good thing.

sneakers145
10-22-2007, 07:32 PM
The lid to the washing machine slammed down again, this time catching Liz on the forehead.

qdsb
10-22-2007, 07:33 PM
Ok, now that I'm obsessing...

Does this opening work?...

Dazed by the heat emanating from the lava river below, he shuffled across the narrow bridge. Once across, he paused to regain his equilibrium and examined the massive stone gates ahead. Flanked by searing falls, the gates promised the most magnificent treasure—and its most terrifying guardian. With his weapons loaded and his health at maximum, he was poised to face whatever unearthly menace awaited him on the other side.

The door bell rang, shattering Quentin's concentration.

WVWriterGirl
10-22-2007, 07:34 PM
There are worlds where magic infuses every rock, every plant and every living thing.

And for the record, I don't like it, not even one little bit. I'm still in the "production" stage of this one, and it'll be a while before I change it, though. The entire first paragraph is absolutely horrible, actually - so much so, I don't want to post any more of it here.

Wraith
10-22-2007, 08:52 PM
Here's mine from my wip:

Hush, hush, Mama always said when I cried, and with a sweep of her thumb she would wipe my cheeks dry.

I love this! It seems to have that holy grail of the writers, the voice. Wow.

Also I love all the others. And thanks guys! Heh, I don't think poppies have a perfume, but I've always assumed they'd be smelling like wildflower. (Which is probably wrong, hence, more reason to scrap the opening :D). In the crazy world I'm writing, they're more of a hallucinatory thing, though. Connection to opium and all.


Ok, now that I'm obsessing...

Does this opening work?...

Dazed by the heat emanating from the lava river below, he shuffled across the narrow bridge. Once across, he paused to regain his equilibrium and examined the massive stone gates ahead. Flanked by searing falls, the gates promised the most magnificent treasure—and its most terrifying guardian. With his weapons loaded and his health at maximum, he was poised to face whatever unearthly menace awaited him on the other side.

The door bell rang, shattering Quentin's concentration.

Wow! I didn't really get hooked by the first paragraph, but the last line just did it for me.

Bufty
10-22-2007, 09:26 PM
Hi qdsb,

I do hope it's not me who's making you obsess. You can picture who is shuffling across the bridge to face the dangers ahead and behind the doors. To me, it's a faceless 'he'.

I have to say at this stage that it's your story - remember that despite what I may say.

Were I to do it - which I'm not - I would consider revealing who it is earlier, what he was facing/expecting and that he was armed, so I could experience Quentin's crossing of this final dangerous obstacle between him and his goal.

That way I also know where I am, what's happening and in whose head I'm supposed to be, but I'm smack in Quentin's shoes so to speak as opposed to watching from above the bridge.

But as I said, it's your story - and I eventually get the picture. Good stuff.

I wish you luck, friend. Pop the opening chapter into SYW if you wish - it sounds like a lot of fun awaits our hero behind the gates -if he can get them open. :snoopy:



Ok, now that I'm obsessing...

Does this opening work?...

Dazed by the heat emanating from the lava river below, he shuffled across the narrow bridge. Once across, he paused to regain his equilibrium and examined the massive stone gates ahead. Flanked by searing falls, the gates promised the most magnificent treasure—and its most terrifying guardian. With his weapons loaded and his health at maximum, he was poised to face whatever unearthly menace awaited him on the other side.

The door bell rang, shattering Quentin's concentration.

qdsb
10-22-2007, 11:57 PM
Hi qdsb,

I do hope it's not me who's making you obsess. You can picture who is shuffling across the bridge to face the dangers ahead and behind the doors. To me, it's a faceless 'he'.

I have to say at this stage that it's your story - remember that despite what I may say.

Were I to do it - which I'm not - I would consider revealing who it is earlier, what he was facing/expecting and that he was armed, so I could experience Quentin's crossing of this final dangerous obstacle between him and his goal.

That way I also know where I am, what's happening and in whose head I'm supposed to be, but I'm smack in Quentin's shoes so to speak as opposed to watching from above the bridge.

But as I said, it's your story - and I eventually get the picture. Good stuff.

I wish you luck, friend. Pop the opening chapter into SYW if you wish - it sounds like a lot of fun awaits our hero behind the gates -if he can get them open. :snoopy:



Well, now, Bufty, there's the rub. :)

I deeply appreciate your advice. And I understand the importance of sensual description, especially in deep third POV. Honest, I do.

But that first sentence is intended as a "faceless he." "Faceless" is the perfect way to describe the "he" in the opening.

Quentin isn't actually on that bridge. He's not actually experiencing sensations of the heat or the bridge or the weight of the weapons. He a teenage boy playing a computer game in his bedroom.

So...what do I do now?

Edited to add--
Oh, and I did put it in SYW earlier today, as a matter of fact. Thanks again!

Bufty
10-23-2007, 02:20 AM
Hi qd.

I've just had a peek at the extremely short submission in SYW and have to agree with Bethany's comments. This is tantamount to a dream sequence. I accept it's your story and your decision, but I do feel you are taking a risk by having what appears to me to be an attempt at a 'clever' opening as opposed to one that is honest with the reader.

If you don't make it clear from the very beginning that it's a game being played, then for my part at least, I feel you are deliberately misleading me by giving me vivid and sensory images and then immediately shattering them. I wonder if you will mislead me later? If the only purpose of this opening paragraph is to tell me Quentin is a player of RPG's, clarity may work better than subtlety.

Just my tuppenceworth for taking or leaving, and I wish you good luck. And sorry for hijacking this opening-line thread.



I'll have a wee peek in SYW tomorrow. :Hug2:


Well, now, Bufty, there's the rub. :)


So...what do I do now?

Edited to add--
Oh, and I did put it in SYW earlier today, as a matter of fact. Thanks again!

Judg
10-23-2007, 11:30 AM
Wraith, do make sure you use the right kind of poppies, eh? Only one species will produce opium. And I've never noticed any scent from any of my poppies. Mind you, I haven't grown opium poppies.

My opening line (which I do not claim to be satisfied with):

Mary's head was swimming. She drew her first shuddering breath.

Wraith
10-23-2007, 02:07 PM
Wraith, do make sure you use the right kind of poppies, eh? Only one species will produce opium. And I've never noticed any scent from any of my poppies. Mind you, I haven't grown opium poppies.
The poppy line is dead. Yay. Killed it last night :D. I did look into the opium species and stuff, so hopefully I won't get that one wrong too. :)

mum23
10-23-2007, 02:31 PM
I try to have a great opening first line to all my chapters. (All 3 at this time lol) Chapter 3. It was the morning after the most increadible night before.

Priene
10-23-2007, 02:47 PM
This bed was not her own, nor could she remember having been asleep.

Elodie-Caroline
10-23-2007, 06:07 PM
I remember those kinds of times... before I was married hehehe :D


This bed was not her own, nor could she remember having been asleep.

qdsb
10-23-2007, 06:23 PM
LOL, EC!!!!

I just hope that's not too close to home...but the dark version...date rape drug, etc.

qdsb
10-23-2007, 06:24 PM
And here's the first line of my current historical WIP:


Through the garret’s solitary window, I watched a meaty spider build its web between the eaves and the ivy.

qdsb
10-25-2007, 01:01 AM
Yikes. Did I kill this thread? Or did it die in the move (from Writing Novels)?

Elodie-Caroline
10-25-2007, 03:45 AM
I think I killed your thread Gdsb, I seem pretty good at that one here ;) Sorry.

davids
10-25-2007, 04:09 AM
Well since everybody seems to be enjoying the fun I have three opening lines to three different books-one in final edit-the other three quarters done-the last about one quarter-have fun

#1

Paul Lightwing sat at his desk; he opened his third pack of Players Silk-Cut Canadians and placed the filterless cigarette gently on his lower lip.

Lightwing was fifty percent Apache and one hundred percent venom. His Native American half was doing tribal penance for working for the FBI, his downtown-Manhattan half was simply slumming.


#2

Jacob had coal-black hair; Schubert locks curled down his forehead, others imbedded his ears in fuzzy cups, while the back ones would press down carefully ironed collars, making them disappear in the dark halo surrounding the head of David’s angel.


#3

Time stood on my feet, held me down, the trigger had been pulled and that was that. It must have been right, correct, justified, I knew it had to be, the killing I mean, what else was there but that? I had been told how it would be, how I should feel, what I should do, so, I did it.

Rhymes and reasons obliterate your guts when you are standing wondering about the why and what the hell was I doing here. It was enough that as I was pulling the trigger I was just thinking about that strawberry ripple cone that was four scoops for a quarter. God that was great ice cream! So it was him, her or it that I was killing, never thought it was me, always thought for a damn long time that it was them that was getting killed, but me? Hell no!

Wraith
10-25-2007, 04:23 PM
Love all three, Davids, the last one especially. Don't kill the strawberry bit when you edit, ok? It's very vivid, I love the voice your narrator has and the quick pace of the thoughts. I'd definitely read further on all three. :)

davids
10-25-2007, 06:22 PM
Why thank-you Wraith. Always nice to get some encouragement from someone here. The strawberry ripple is in for good. Dave

mara_jade3
12-03-2007, 12:10 AM
Here's the first line from my WIP that is on hold until I polish a completed novel.

Blood poured like rain from the heavens, red and thick, staining everything it touched.

Geez... I've got problems, don't I? It's called The Dark Child though, so what would you expect? lol But just looking at the first line makes me wonder about me...

jordijoy
12-03-2007, 12:37 AM
Here is mine:

“This is bleedin’...insanity!”

Joycecwilliams
12-06-2007, 06:51 AM
Larry is puzzled as I scurry around the room gathering my clothes and putting them on like a contestant in a game of Beat of Clock. The sooner I can get out of here the better off I’ll be.