“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 (New Kings James Version)
I guess when you decide to write a post about the first lines of books, you can’t go completely wrong with the first line of the Bible. That line opens the door to everything that follows. God in the beginning and then wow.
No way can I compare my own first lines of stories with that first line of the inspired Word of God. But first lines of books are important no matter what type book. That first line has to invite a reader into the story. It has to make the eyes want to go on to the next line and the next and on and on.
The reason I’m thinking first lines is that I’ve had to come up with plenty in the process of writing thirty plus books. I really don’t know how many books I’ve written. I’ve been fortunate to have thirty-two books published with two more in the process of being published. That’s a lot of beginnings. A lot of bravely typing Chapter 1 and then coming up with a first line. I’m sure I could have perhaps written a more engaging first line for many of my books. But some of them aren’t so bad. Let’s take a look.
Some days David Brooke didn’t know whether to count his blessings or to hide from them. (Scent of Lilacs)
It wasn’t a good thing to be in love with the man your sister was going to marry. (Small Town Girl)
When she saw the two men riding down the lane toward her house, Carlyn Kearney lifted the shotgun down off the long nails that held it over her front door. (The Innocent)
When he was a little boy, his mother told him a drunk jumped off this bridge and survived. (Murder Comes by Mail)
So what do you think? Any of them sound enticing enough to pull you into the story? Those books are all already out there for readers. Nothing I can do about the first lines now. So how about a peek at some future first lines? First I’ll let you see the first line of my upcoming release, Murder Is No Accident.
When Maggie Greene heard a noise in the big old house below her, she sucked in her breath to listen.
I hope that will make readers immediately know that something isn’t right and maybe Maggie has reason to be a little afraid.
Then I have a book scheduled for release next September, These Healing Hills. Here’s the first line right now but I’ll be doing more edits on that story before it makes its way out to readers.
Francine Howard stepped off the bus into another world.
You really can’t tell much about that one line except the character’s name and that something is changing for her.
And last, I’ll share the first line of my current work in progress. It’s a historical and everything is subject to change in the story. So this first line may not stay a first line. I’m months away from writing “the end” and then doing more edits.
Adria Starr didn’t want her mother and little brother to stop breathing the way her father did.
I want to come up with good first lines. I like noting first lines in the books I read. I don’t put a book down because of a less than stellar first line, but when it is a good line, then my reader imagination perks up and is ready for the story.
So what do you think? Any of these first lines ones that might draw you into my stories? How much attention do you pay to the first line of the books you read?
And the First Winner is…
And now it’s time to announce my first Sunday winner. Joan A. is the name that rose to the top of my drawing hat. I’ll be in touch with Joan via e-mail to see which of the Hidden Springs mysteries she wants, Murder at the Courthouse or Murder Comes by Mail. Then next Sunday I’ll draw another winner and another the Sunday after that. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment here on my blog post. Those of you who commented on last week’s posts and didn’t win still have your names in the drawing, but you can get an additional entry, which could give you more chance of winning, by leaving a comment on this post and/or Wednesday’s post. You must be eighteen to enter.
Just tell me what you think about some of those first lines or other great first lines of books you’ve read. And as always, thanks for reading.