Friday, August 6, 2010

First Line Friday

I’m a Happy Hooker. Get your mind out of the gutter; it’s not what you’re thinking.

Last year I took an online writing workshop called 'Happy Hookers' and learned how to grab a reader’s attention with the very first sentence. Great hooks keep chapters and scenes from starting slow and ending flat. What writer doesn’t want to hear someone say they couldn’t put the book down? One vital ingredient in strong writing is a strong hook. In the class, I found out what makes an engaging opening scene and how to end chapters with a cliff hanger. I’ve had fun taking what I learned and incorporating it into my own WIPs.

Before I buy a book, I always read the first line. My love of first lines hasn’t diminished the more I read. In fact, it’s turned into sort of a passion of mine. To pay homage to sparkly vampires lovers everyone, let’s take a look at the first lines of the Twilight Saga. I read all 4 books just before Twilight came to the big screen. Though I’m not the target audience for a YA novel about teen romance, I became an immediate fan. In other words, I became a Twilighter, a step below those Twihards who live and breathe Twilight like it’s some sort of religion.

Read the books, and it’s easy to see why fans are obsessed. While not perfect, the Twilight Saga written by Stephenie Meyer is an engaging blend of dark romance and high school drama.

Take a look at the first lines…

TWILIGHT
I’d never given much thought to how I would die – though I’d had reason enough in the last few months – but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this.

NEW MOON
I felt like I was trapped in one of those terrifying nightmares, the one where you have to run, run till your lungs burst, but you can’t make your body move fast enough.

ECLIPSE
All our attempts at subterfuge had been in vain.

BREAKING DAWN
I’d had more than my share of near-death experiences; it wasn’t something you ever really get used to.

As first lines go, I think the one for Twilight is pretty darn good. The best books grab the reader from the very first sentence and never let go. The Twilight opening line hooked me. It’s one of my all- time favorites because it let me know right away that something has happened that is going to cause dramatic consequences in the life of the character.

Which line do you like best? Do any of them make you want to keep reading?

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