Opening Lines

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The series I'm working on comprises individual volumes in a single, uninterrupted story, so it limits my habitual "in media res" opening. I've tried starting in the middle, jumping back to the begging, and then progressing through the middle featured in the opening on to the end, in true Tarantinonian style. That was fun. One of those Song of Ice and Fire "everyone dies" sort of stories. It built tension, when through the early story the characters meet, fall in love, and decide to name their unborn son Vestrius, whom you saw beheaded on the first page. Then he grows up and decided to incite a revolution. It's like seeing the plane crash, and then buying a ticket, walking to the terminal, and waiting in line. But that one's ten years in the filing cabinet.
 
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An interesting article, and very good point/s. My next novel to be published starts with "Truth is simple true", whilst the next one (not yet seen by any beta readers), is totally different, "It had been five years since Ceridwen, story-teller of Wales, had defeated one of the most evil demons in the history of mankind."
I think I need to re-think that first one! ;-)
 
An interesting article, and very good point/s. My next novel to be published starts with "Truth is simple true", whilst the next one (not yet seen by any beta readers), is totally different, "It had been five years since Ceridwen, story-teller of Wales, had defeated one of the most evil demons in the history of mankind."
I think I need to re-think that first one! ;-)
Enticing, but based in the past instead of the present. What if you inserted it into dialogue?
"Ceridwen! The Story-teller of Wales!" the man said, "I've heard of you. You're the one that defeated the most evil demon in the history of mankind! Has it already been five years?"
 
Interesting article. I really hadn't thought about it. The first line of the ms I'm currently working on is, "The landlord of the inn, who was standing behind the heavy bar polishing his plain pewter tankards, gave a cursory glance at the stranger that had just entered." I may have to re-think it, now. My other two opening lines aren't the best either. Hmmmm....
 
Interesting article. I really hadn't thought about it. The first line of the ms I'm currently working on is, "The landlord of the inn, who was standing behind the heavy bar polishing his plain pewter tankards, gave a cursory glance at the stranger that had just entered." I may have to re-think it, now. My other two opening lines aren't the best either. Hmmmm....
Unless the stranger is fantastic in some way — glowing, for example.
 
@Alistair Roberts I really like that first line. It would make me want to read more.
Hmmm. I'd say book 3's opening line is best out of the ones I've done.
BOOK 1 - -The incline steepened, slowing Catrìona’s progress to a crawl.
BOOK 2 - Cold steel slapped against Mòrag’s arm causing her to curse.
BOOK 3 - The distant smell of charred flesh and timber reached his nose as he raced through the undergrowth behind Tara.
 
@Alistair Roberts I really like that first line. It would make me want to read more.
Hmmm. I'd say book 3's opening line is best out of the ones I've done.
BOOK 1 - -The incline steepened, slowing Catrìona’s progress to a crawl.
BOOK 2 - Cold steel slapped against Mòrag’s arm causing her to curse.
BOOK 3 - The distant smell of charred flesh and timber reached his nose as he raced through the undergrowth behind Tara.
Definitely loving book 3.
 
Just throwing out ideas — if an when you want input, we'd have a better idea actually seeing the material.
I understand. I had to go back at look at my "Opening Lines" with that in mind. It's really hard to know what the first line should be until you get some ideas down, imo.
 
@Alistair Roberts I really like that first line. It would make me want to read more.
Hmmm. I'd say book 3's opening line is best out of the ones I've done.
BOOK 1 - -The incline steepened, slowing Catrìona’s progress to a crawl.
BOOK 2 - Cold steel slapped against Mòrag’s arm causing her to curse.
BOOK 3 - The distant smell of charred flesh and timber reached his nose as he raced through the undergrowth behind Tara.
Actually, I think all three are pretty good. One and three are the better of the three, though, imo.
 
Maybe not my best, but still my favourite:
It's Saturday morning and prime time for the toy pushers, when thirty seconds of ad space cost more than a life. Coiled springs of hype and promise exploding into the minds of minors who sit glued to their screens, unable to break away.

Pretentious? Moi?
 
Maybe not my best, but still my favourite:
It's Saturday morning and prime time for the toy pushers, when thirty seconds of ad space cost more than a life. Coiled springs of hype and promise exploding into the minds of minors who sit glued to their screens, unable to break away.

Pretentious? Moi?
Cheat! That's 2 sentences :p Sounds ominous.
 
Maybe not my best, but still my favourite:
It's Saturday morning and prime time for the toy pushers, when thirty seconds of ad space cost more than a life. Coiled springs of hype and promise exploding into the minds of minors who sit glued to their screens, unable to break away.

Pretentious? Moi?
That was actually 2 sentences....but good!
 
Really enjoying reading all of your first lines! Mine are below, in the order they were written.

The Waters of Nyra
Volume I (self published):
“Listen! Nyra, STOP!” The little red draggling ignored her brother’s shouts.

The Waters of Nyra Volume II (self-published):
The little red dragon dared not open her eyes.

Sci-fi manuscript (incomplete):
I’m not well. But I hope to be. Soon.

Satan’s Secretary (complete, unpublished):
It started with a bug bite.

Current work-in-progress:
On a not-yet infamous Tuesday, Donalie Hill concluded that the third guarantee in life was a lie.
 
Really enjoying reading all of your first lines! Mine are below, in the order they were written.

The Waters of Nyra
Volume I (self published):
“Listen! Nyra, STOP!” The little red draggling ignored her brother’s shouts.

The Waters of Nyra Volume II (self-published):
The little red dragon dared not open her eyes.

Sci-fi manuscript (incomplete):
I’m not well. But I hope to be. Soon.

Satan’s Secretary (complete, unpublished):
It started with a bug bite.

Current work-in-progress:
On a not-yet infamous Tuesday, Donalie Hill concluded that the third guarantee in life was a lie.

I like those!
 
The opener to my (still being drafted) book, See Joey Run, is "Joey Hogan, in shorts and tee-shirt, swaggered along rue Makhoul, flip-flops clapping in time as his white stick legs carried him past apartments pockmarked with shell holes."

for anyone interested, I did some research into this whole opening line toipic and pulled it together into a doc you can download about halfway down the page at http://cyprianmchugh.com/the-book/

despite all the research, I still find the opening line a nightmare to get right, and cover all the bases with - I'm hoping my opening para will instead do all the good things Mr King suggests
 
The original opener 'Taron was a small fishing village, nestled where the mountain river met the sea.' More of a scene setter but no hook.
After a little restructuring, it now reads 'In the village of Daro, the Temple of Darkness watched over its slumbering citizens.'
Sounds much better I think. Well, more ominous.
 
The original opener 'Taron was a small fishing village, nestled where the mountain river met the sea.' More of a scene setter but no hook.
After a little restructuring, it now reads 'In the village of Daro, the Temple of Darkness watched over its slumbering citizens.'
Sounds much better I think. Well, more ominous.

Nice improvement!
 
The opener to my (still being drafted) book, See Joey Run, is "Joey Hogan, in shorts and tee-shirt, swaggered along rue Makhoul, flip-flops clapping in time as his white stick legs carried him past apartments pockmarked with shell holes."

for anyone interested, I did some research into this whole opening line toipic and pulled it together into a doc you can download about halfway down the page at http://cyprianmchugh.com/the-book/

despite all the research, I still find the opening line a nightmare to get right, and cover all the bases with - I'm hoping my opening para will instead do all the good things Mr King suggests
It's difficult to have the first sentence "grab" the reader. Since reading the article, I've been trying to come up with my own "hook" in the first sentence. Still haven't come up with anything I'm happy with for all three of my manuscripts.
 
The original opener 'Taron was a small fishing village, nestled where the mountain river met the sea.' More of a scene setter but no hook.
After a little restructuring, it now reads 'In the village of Daro, the Temple of Darkness watched over its slumbering citizens.'
Sounds much better I think. Well, more ominous.
I wanna read it.
 
Really enjoying reading all of your first lines! Mine are below, in the order they were written.

The Waters of Nyra
Volume I (self published):
“Listen! Nyra, STOP!” The little red draggling ignored her brother’s shouts.

The Waters of Nyra Volume II (self-published):
The little red dragon dared not open her eyes.

Sci-fi manuscript (incomplete):
I’m not well. But I hope to be. Soon.

Satan’s Secretary (complete, unpublished):
It started with a bug bite.

Current work-in-progress:
On a not-yet infamous Tuesday, Donalie Hill concluded that the third guarantee in life was a lie.

I love these, especially the last one!
 
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