Wednesday, July 14, 2010

THE PERFECT PICKUP LINE ... Or How to Hook a Reader (& book/critique giveaway!!)

Hey, beautiful, is it hot in here,
or is it just you?

Hello, gorgeous—you must be tired ‘cause you've been running through my mind all day.

Ouch, babe—did it hurt? You know,
when you fell from heaven?


Okay, I don’t know about you, but if I were young and single and a guy approached me with one of the lines above, they would be dead in the water. And let’s face it—“dead in the water” is not where you want to be, whether you’re a guy looking to hook up with a girl … OR an author looking to hook up with a reader.

A guy has only one chance to make a first impression on a girl … and a writer has only one chance to hook a reader or an editor into the story of their heart. Now, honestly, do you really want to blow it on a lackluster first line?

When I walk into a bookstore to buy a book, I am drawn first by the title, the cover, the jacket blurb and then finally the first line or paragraph. If the first line or paragraph doesn’t reel me in, I put the book back on the shelf. Why? Because I am a first-line freak who wants to be wooed into the book by a “pickup line” that grabs me by the throat and says, “Hey, baby, take me home.”

But, don’t take my word for it—Joan Marlow Golan, Executive Editor of Steeple Hill said this in her Seeker guest blog two months ago Joan Marlow Golan Guest Blog: “What grabs me in a proposal is a great opening line—I find dialogue especially effective, or a sentence that propels me into the middle of some drama. ‘Setup’ openings and descriptions of the setting do not grab my attention.” Joan went on to say that one of the major reasons manuscripts are rejected by editors are because “the opening wasn’t compelling, so we didn’t read any further.”

So … what exactly makes for a great opening line? Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, it’s any number of the following things for which I have many examples, courtesy of the Seekers and a few of my own favorites. Keep in mind that I have broken them down into categories, but many of the following first lines incorporate a number of the categories, which, in my opinion, strengthens the line all the more:

1.) BREVITY: Yeah, yeah, I know I write 500-page books, so brevity is not exactly something Ruthy and I know a lot about, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love it—especially in other people! Here are some examples of brief first lines from the “100 Best First Lines of Novels” 100 Best First Lines of Novels as chosen by the editors of American Book Review. Notice that they are short and sweet and sold a ton of books:

Elmer Gantry was drunk.
Elmer Gantry, Sinclair Lewis, 1927

It was a pleasure to burn.
Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury, 1953

Mother died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don't know."
The Stranger, Albert Camus, 1942

And now a few fun examples from modern-day authors:

This was not the smartest way to die.
A Soldier’s Family, Cheryl Wyatt, March 2008

I would rather boil in oil than marry Noah Brenin.
Surrender the Heart, MaryLu Tyndall, August 2010

The sharks were circling.
Bobby Patterson had been at the party a total of three minutes.
But half that time was all it took for the smell of fresh blood
to circulate among the single women.
Love Remains, Kaye Dacus, August 2010

2.) DIALOGUE: Dialogue is always a winner because it automatically demands attention … you know, the old E. F. Hutton commercial that “when E. F. Hutton speaks, people listen”? Well, it’s the same with dialogue in the first line or paragraph—I instantly engage when I see quotes indicating somebody is talking to me, such as in the following examples of great first lines:

“Broken! It can’t be broken.”
Jilly Gardner squinted toward the light box where three X-rays
of her left ankle glowed in haunting shades of gray. “Take another look, Doc.
Maybe it’s just a smudge on your glasses.”
Where the Dogwood Blooms, Myra Johnson, July 2010

“You look awful.”
Will Sullivan shoved his hands into the back pockets of his Wranglers
and continued his intense scrutiny.
The Rancher’s Reunion, Tina Radcliffe, January 2011

3.) THOUGHTS: Ah … now THIS is my favorite, and many other writers as well, apparently, because when I polled the Seekers, the majority of them kick off their books with a thought, including me. That’s because a character’s thoughts are like a window into their soul and into the story. Not only do they carry the drama and appeal of dialogue, but they are usually both dramatic and practical, not only hooking a reader, but imparting insight into the character(s) or foreshadowing the problems ahead for that character. Here are some great Seeker examples:

Drop down and pretend to be dead.
Yeah, right. Samantha Reynolds took a tentative step backwards,
aware that tall sandstone buttes towering behind could trap her.
New Horizons, Sandra Leesmith.

Eat and leave. That’s all she had to do.
If Grandma didn’t kill her first for being late.
Sushi for One?, Camy Tang, September 2007

Cowboys ain’t nothing but trouble.
Second Chance Courtship, Glynna Kaye, February 2011

Ironically, I begin every one of my novels with the heroine’s thought. I guess this is because when I sit down and write a book, I become that character in my mind, so I just naturally pop out a thought. Somehow for me, this not only captures the essence of my character, but foreshadows the trouble ahead for her, such as in the following:

Sisters are overrated, she decided.
Not all of them, of course, only the beautiful ones who never let you forget it.
A Passion Most Pure, Julie Lessman, January 2008

Poor, unsuspecting Mitch.
The dear boy—well, hardly a boy—doesn’t stand a chance.
A Passion Redeemed, Julie Lessman, September 2008

Oh, to be a calculating woman!
A Passion Denied, Julie Lessman, May 2009

Now this is how love should be—nice and neat.
A Hope Undaunted, Julie Lessman, September 2010

4.) HUMOR: Now, when we talk humor in the Christian historical romance genre, for me, Mary Connealy is the queen, although Missy Tippens’ sweet, Southern style gives Mary a run for her money with her killer first line below in her contemporary novel, as does Betsy St. Amant. A reader automatically engages when an author makes him or her smile in the first line or paragraph, so if you have the knack … go for it!

The five horsemen of the Apocalypse rode in. Late as usual.
Calico Canyon, Mary Connealy, July 2008

If there was one thing Josie knew, it was the smell of a rich man.
And whoever had just walked into the diner smelled like Fort Knox.
Her Unlikely Family, Missy Tippens, January 2008

Unemployed. Single. And out of brownie mix.
A Valentine’s Wish, Betsy St. Amant, February 2010

It is a truth universally acknowledged that
a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen, 1813

5.) SHOCK: As a romance writer, shock is not exactly my thing, but there’s no denying its power in a first line as evident in the following examples.

Don't die, little girl.
Critical Care, Candace Calvert, May 2009

My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name Susie.
I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.

The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold, September 2009

I was six years old the first time I disappeared.

Vanishing Acts, Jodi Picoult, November 2005

6.) SUSPENSE: I always contend that it takes a smarter person to write romantic mystery or suspense because over and above the research, romance and engaging plot, you have the extra task of keeping your reader on pins and needles and surprising them at the end—not an easy thing to do. Here is an example from Seeker Debby Giusti who does this really well:

“Kate. I need your help.”
The urgency in the caller’s voice made Kate Murphy’s heart race.
“Who… Who is this?”
MIA: Missing in Atlanta, Debby Giusti, March 2008

7.) ACTION: Without question, action is a bona fide way to jerk your reader right into the story because it’s almost as if they are no longer just reading about someone else—they are actually experiencing the same thing too. For some reason, I didn’t have a lot of examples for action, so in addition to Seeker Pam Hillman’s action-packed first lines, I included one of my own from a prologue, which is a little long, but then what’s new?

Amanda Malone slammed into something hard and unforgiving.
The collision sent her cane flying. Strong arms wrapped around her,
keeping her from falling on her backside.
Eyes of the Heart, Pam Hillman.

She heard it before she felt it. Harsh air sucking through clenched teeth,
the grunt of an arm raised, the soft swish of a hand slicing the air.
“I want the truth—”
And then she felt it. The crack of knuckles when her jaw met
the back of his hand, the thud of her head against the wall,
the putrid rise of nausea as it climbed in her throat.
“Did you sleep with him?”
No, I swear—”
"Liar!"
--> A Heart Revealed, Julie Lessman, September 2011

8.) INSIGHT INTO THE CHARACTER/STORY: To me, this is actually a lot like “thoughts” because it gives the reader a glimpse into the hero or heroine, but it’s done through action or the author’s description of the character. Anytime an author imparts insight into their character, it revs me for the story, such as in these excellent examples.

Elizabeth Manning had examined every option open to her.
But in the end, she had only one. Her heart lurched. She had to run.
The Substitute Bride, Janet Dean, February 2010

Charlotte Hale’s legs, hidden beneath her long serge skirt,
wobbled like a newborn colt’s.
Love on Assignment, Cara Lynn James, January 2011

Returning to Hawk Ridge pasted Zac Davidson smack in the middle
of a Hallmark movie, complete with endless commercials and burned popcorn.
Unfortunately, he'd never had use for idealized propaganda
and the notion of happy ever after.
Well, not in this lifetime.
Take Two, Audra Harders

He stood hard and unyielding,
one arm stretched across the entry as if to block Kayla’s approach.
Light spilled from the angled door of the old farmhouse,
warming the mold-hashed porch with a splash of gold,
backlighting his rugged frame.
Winter’s End, Ruth Logan Herne, March 2010

Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful,
but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm
as the Tarleton twins were."
Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell, 1936

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
The Bible, God, 1384 AD

Okay, there you have it—my suggestions for coming up with great “pickup lines.” Please keep in mind that these are only my humble suggestions and I would love to hear yours. So anyone who leaves a comment will have their name thrown in the hat to win a signed copy of any of my books, including A Hope Undaunted in September.

BONUS GIVEAWAY: And for those brave enough to post their first line(s),
there will be a second drawing to win both a signed copy of A Hope Undaunted and a 5-page critique by yours truly. Be sure to leave your e-mail address in a spam-safe manner such as janedoe(at)charter(dot)net.

And remember … “pickup lines” are not just a handy tool for a guy who wants to hit on a girl in a bar … they’re a must for the writer who wants to hit on the hot button of an editor or reader … an editor or reader who, if you get lucky, just may take you home.


150 comments :

  1. Thank you so much for the insight. These are the first few lines from my current WIP. The working title right now is A Santa For Mrs. Claus.

    Karissa glanced at her watch for perhaps the tenth time in as many minutes. Her velveteen costume was starting to itch, her white wig was not only itching but the tightness across her crown of her head was causing her to have a headache and her feet were sore from standing for the past four hours and if one more child pulled on her wig tonight she thought she might just scream.

    authorkathyeberlyatgmaildotcom

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  2. Wicked cool! I might be the first commentor...since it's the middle of the night, I won't break out the coffee. How about some nice hot cocoa, or if it's hot where you are, some ice cold Diet Coke?

    Terrific post, Julie. I love opening lines. Dick Francis wrote some of the best in the business IMNSHO.

    This is the line from the book I'm currently doing the galley edits on:

    A handsome man couldn’t be trusted, Maggie Davis reminded herself, and a girl would be wise to watch out for the ugly
    ones, too.


    From Maggie and the Maverick due out around Nov/Dec from Heartsong.

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  3. Whoops, Kathy beat me to the first comment while I was typing! LOL

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  4. These are some great example, Julie! And I love the diversity--so many options! :D

    I would LOVE to win a critique by you, so here goes nothing! ;)

    I hope it's OK that I share my first line(s) from the prologue, because I think they are more powerful than my first line of the first chapter:

    "Forgotten. As much as David disliked the word, all that it stood for and the painful memories he associated with it, he could not seem to let it go."

    I guess this would fit in the "author's insight into the character's thoughts" category. ;)

    Thank you so much for the chance!

    ~Amber

    stokes[dot]a[at]suddenlink[dot]net

    P.S. I would share some food with you, but I haven't had that much "real" food today to share. Anybody up for some airplane food? Now that I've arrived in D.C. after flying most of the day, I can't wait to eat some real food tomorrow! ;)

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  5. Of course, I would forget to leave my emai. Thank you for providing this wonderful opportunity.

    This is so much fun, Julie. I love first lines. They are so much fun to read and write, although I've noticed at times they are very difficult to get 'right'.

    The first two are from manuscripts currently under revisions.

    From my Western Cherish Me.

    At the age of eleven, Francis Darbigal O'Donnell never thought she’d be anything more than what her parents had formed her to be; a God-fearing wife and a diligent mother. But all that changed when her parents fell from their pulpit in search of gold.

    From my Biblical Priest.

    “Shalom.”

    Ari smoothed the last of the mud with the curved lava stone, filling the gap in the rock wall, before bowing his head.

    “Shalom, Ladonee.”


    These next one is from a piece I just started.

    From my Western Love Me.

    He thought he had buried her. He was quite certain he had sprinkled a handful of dirt onto her pine box. But there she was parading her wares for all to see.

    reneelynnscott[at]gmail[dot]com

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  6. Erica, I loved your first line! I want to read more! :)

    Renee, I am intrigued by your heroine coming back from the dead!

    Fun blog!

    EvaMariaHamilton at gmail dot com

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  7. This is a fantastic post! Thanks so much for writing this. And to Camy for tweeting it!

    I just realized that I always start out with my hero doing something action-oriented. I don't know why--everywhere from my historicals to my contemporaries. Here are the two first-lines from my currently-being-edited-manuscripts.

    1. Sean Raleigh threw his shoe at the idiot woman's retreating head. When he missed, she popped back into his bedroom to protest and he chucked the other one. The second shoe crashed against the wall where her head had been and thunked onto the floor.

    2. Jake tossed the fish carcass over his shoulder and waited for the scream. When Melody obliged, a louder squeal than even he expected, his mouth gathered into a smirk and he turned on his heel. "This is why I asked for a professional. Because when Adam filets a fish, it comes out looking like he's been after it with his own teeth instead of one of my $400 handmade Japanese knives."

    I've never had anyone comment on that fact (the male openings), but I guess I like to open with my men doing something shocking. Ooooh, that sounds like a pickup line (and not a good one...).

    rlcameron (at) yahoo (dot) com
    romancingthepalate.blogspot.com

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  8. Okay this is off the subject but I'm glad someone remembers the E.F. Hutton commercials. I asked a teen in my youth group "What, didn't you eat your Wheaties this morning?" and they didn't get it.

    Mercy, I feel so old....

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  9. Thanks for all the great examples of story starters. Sometimes that's the hardest part for me in writing the beginning of a story or even for each chapter--figuring out the best way to hook the reader in. Sometimes I fall back to my old ways of telling too much unimportant detail or being too passive.

    Please enter me in the book drawing. I can't wait to read the latest book coming out soon. :)
    cynthiakchow (at) earthlink (dot) net

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  10. Nice topic. Loved the examples of "pick-up" lines.

    Here's mine, from my historical romance wip:

    Aaron was certain to frighten the girl, like he inevitably did every young lady. It seemed to be his newest gift from a God who never answered prayers but with a sardonic twist.
    Thanks for the opportunity to win a book or a critique.

    mahereenie at yahoo dot com

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  11. Hi, hope it's OK to contact you with this comment. We'd like to offer you to be included on our giveaway search engine: Giveaway Scout (http://www.giveawayscout.com). Have a look and if interested, use our online form to add your blog (http://www.giveawayscout.com/addblog/ ). thanks, Jen

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  12. Good morning one and all! Belly up to the coffee bar where we have butter pecan and cinnamon hazelnut brewing along with an alarming selection of teas to go with chocolate chip pancakes, peach and cheeze blintzes with a side of brown sugar bacon. Dig in!

    KATHY ... good job being the first to deliver a line and what a catchy title -- A Santa for Mrs. Claus! Your first lines not only pulled me in, but made me itch too -- talk about reader participation! :)

    ERICA ... I do believe that's the first time I have ever heard the expression "wicked cool," and I want you to know I plan to steal it. And thanks for picking up the slack with cocoa and Coke during the wee hours of the morning, but honestly, no wonder you can't sleep with all that caffeine, girl! LOVE the first line, Erica, but then that's no surprise!

    AMBER!!! I LOVE one-word first-liners because not only are they so rare, but they are packed with drama! Great job, sweetie!!

    RENEE ... I LOVE first lines, too, almost obsessively! Your first lines are great, Renee, ESPECIALLY the last one ... short with lots of drama and you piqued my curiosity something fierce with her parading her wares, girl!

    EVA ... thanks for dropping by to cheer on the troops. Based on the first lines we've seen so far, I'd say we're in for a FUN day!

    REBECCA ... SO grateful to Camy for tweeting and to you for coming by. Isn't it funny to see what pattern we follow with first lines? You have men doing shocking things (uh, I usually save that for the inside text) and I have women thinking shocking things! BOTH of your examples made me laugh, so that is VERY good, my friend!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  13. You quoted me! HA!!!

    So of course this has to be a great article. I was quite surprised to find myself here. LOL.

    Hey I have a single title that I love, that will someday find a home. It's clean, PG rated despite the first line, because well, Italian momma's can be a bit risque' even if the subject matter is not.

    From IN HER WILDEST DREAMS

    Tell me honestly, Sophie, don’t you miss sex?”
    Sophie James refrained from spewing diet soda all over the kitchen counter. This was, after all, her mother. Did she expect anything less? She slid the phone away from her ear for a moment and took a deep breath.

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  14. Julie, thanks for the great post and ideas for grabbing readers with the first line.

    I love all the first lines posted, so far. They definitely pull me in, and make me want to read the rest of the stories.

    Here's the first line from one of my current WIPs.

    “More coffee?” Judge Sam Manning grabbed both mugs not waiting for an answer and headed into his kitchen.

    Thanks for the opportunity!

    kanavyhist[at]aol[dot]com

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  15. BK ... move over, honey, we're ALL getting old and some of us faster than others! THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for remembering E.F. Hutton ... I was scared to death NOBODY would know what I was talking about because I am so darn antiquated. Of course, the beauty of being my age (and, YES, there is some "beauty" left) is that you don't give a rip anymore ... :)

    CYNTHIA!!! Girl, I don't believe I knew you were a writer!! All the blogs you've commented on in my life, I don't think you ever mentioned that fact -- GOOD for you!! And, YES, do stay away from too much detail (an early problem of mine) and passivity (shiver!). Give it a shot with one of the suggestions above and then come back to show us, if you want. We won't bite (uh, I won't, that is ... can't speak for Ruthy ... :)).

    Hey, KATHLEEN, you gave us SO much insight in that short opening -- excellent!! I love it when authors do that. A contest judge once told me that a good writer is one who can same the most with the least amount of words. Uh, obviously she wasn't talking about Ruthy and me ...

    Hey, JEN ... you said, "Hi, hope it's OK to contact you with this comment." Now THAT was a catchy pickup line if I ever heard one! Thanks for stopping by!

    TEEENNNNAAA!!! You had me at "sex," girlfriend in the manner of a true "risque" Italian mama!!! LOVE that opening, girl, and the sentences that follow too -- talk about a hook! I had to laugh at the lines:

    "This was, after all, her mother. Did she expect anything less?" Have you been talking to my daughter??? And I'm not even Italian ...

    Okay, everybody ... I am off to take my dear 92-year-old aunt to the hearing-aid doctor for the EIGHTH time, so wish me luck. Better yet, say one for me that this time the contraption works, okay? Anymore visits, and I'll be able to put her in the car via auto-pilot!

    So, chat up a storm and I will be back later this morning to join in on the fun.

    Hugs,
    Julie

    P.S. ERICA ... my husband just laughed at your opening line while he was eating his pop tart, WHICH he fixed himself. I'm a writer, not a cook. So thanks for impressing him with your words since I obviously can't impress him with my food. :)

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  16. BK ... move over, honey, we're ALL getting old and some of us faster than others! THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for remembering E.F. Hutton ... I was scared to death NOBODY would know what the heck I was talking about because I am so darn antiquated. Of course, the beauty of being my age (and, YES, there is some "beauty" left) is that you don't give a rip anymore ... :)

    CYNTHIA!!! Girl, I don't believe I knew you were a writer!! All the blogs you've commented on in my life, I don't think you ever mentioned that fact -- GOOD for you, girl!! And, YES, do stay away from too much detail (an early problem of mine) and passivity (shiver!). Give it a shot with one of the suggestions above and come back to show us, if you want. We won't bite (uh, I won't ... can't speak for Ruthy ... :)).

    Hey, KATHLEEN, you gave us SO much insight in that short opening -- excellent!! I love it when authors do that. A contest judge once told me that a good writer is one who can same the most with the least amount of words. Uh, obviously she wasn't talking about Ruthy and me ...

    Hey, JEN ... "Hi, hope it's OK to contact you with this comment." Now THAT was a catchy pickup line if I ever heard one! Thanks for stopping by!

    TEEENNNNAAA!!! You had me at "sex," girlfriend in the manner of a true "risque" Italian mama!!! LOVE that opening, girl, and the sentences that follow too -- talk about a hook! I had to laugh at the lines:
    "This was, after all, her mother. Did she expect anything less?" Have you been talking to my daughter??? And I'm not even Italian ...

    Okay, everybody ... I am off to take my dear 92-year-old aunt to the hearing-aid doctor for the EIGHTH time, so wish me luck. Better yet, say one for me that this time the contraption works, okay? Anymore visits, and I'll be able to put her in the car via auto-pilot!

    So, chat up a storm and I will be back later this morning to join in on the fun.

    Hugs,
    Julie

    P.S. ERICA ... my husband laughed at your opening line while he was eating his pop tart, WHICH he fixed himself. I'm a writer, not a cook. :)

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  17. Oh-oh ... Blogger is doing the double thing again! Sorry. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  18. Awesome post, Julie!! I loved reading everyone's first lines! Some I recognized, some I didn't. I hadn't seen Glynna's before but it's TOO funny!
    Please enter me for both drawings! Here's my addy and my first line:

    If there was one thing Rachel McCormick hated more than breaking into the mayor’s house, it was getting caught.

    jessica_nelson7590 AT yahoo DOT com

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  19. This very topic has been driving me crazy!!!! I have so many first lines to my WIP that I started a word.doc for them. It's like I'm stuck in a deer-in-the-headlights daze over the beginning of this book and not getting on fast enough with the rest of it. So, inquiring minds want to know: Do you come up with those perfect first lines/paragraphs from the very start and then the story flows from there? Or do they evolve along with the story?

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  20. Julie, you're already taunting us with next year's book before Undaunted is even released? So not fair!!

    Here are the first few lines from my unfinished senior thesis project...

    “I’ll always hate you for this!” Jillian stood with her hands on her hips, screaming at Jeff. “Sniper school? Explain that for me, Jeffrey Mark Adams! How can you explain wanting to learn how to kill people?” She had found out about her brother’s next assignment a few days ago. It had taken her that long to be able to confront him.

    Holly
    oceandreamerfla(at)aol(dot)com

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  21. Super post! Helpful and oh-so fun! =] =] And I'll throw out my first lines...

    Now that's a man! Torie eyed the super-sized surfer boy dressed in workman's clothes, appreciating the view. Good thing she had long since been immunized against big, good looking men.

    patterly(at)gmail(dot)com

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  22. Great post, Julie! I LOVE a good opening line. Something that lands me immediately into the story and makes me want to read on.

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  23. Great post, Julie! I'm in the middle of a first draft and that first line has been cooking around in my head since I started.

    Blessings on everyone's day!

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  24. Oh my, this was fun, fun, fun!!!

    Jules, I love first lines. I just love 'em THIS much.

    And what a great conglomeration of old and new, you smartie, you!

    And you're being nice to your aunt, so what's not to love. ;)

    Oh my gosh, Amber DID NOT bring food, and leftover airplane stuff is not gonna cut it, girlfriend, uh, uh, not on a hot, steamy, shoulda-been-Weeziana summers day in Western New York.

    How 'bout peach pie? With vanilla ice cream...

    And raspberry pie, too, since they're in season up here. Tender, flaky crust.... Red, ripe berries...

    Melting in your mouth in sugary sweetness with just a hint o' twang for old times sake.

    Oh, yum. ;)

    And here's an opening line for a fun Ruthy-book slated for next year...

    Right foot braced, Danny strove to avoid the old wooden fence while his brain registered a woman’s shriek at the same moment his brakes screamed for mercy, all the while the wood-splintering thunk meant he, the fence and the woman were tagged for a rough morning, classic Bermuda triangle.

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  25. Hey, Julie! This is such a fun topic. I LOVE your first lines! And all the Seeker examples you posted. I'm not as good at this. But here are mine.

    Here's the first line from The Healer's Apprentice:

    The townspeople of Hagenheim craned their necks as they peered down the cobblestone street, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Duke of Hagenheim’s two handsome sons.

    This one's from Magnolia Summer:

    Truett Beverly aimed his Henry repeating rifle at the noose above James Burwell’s head. He knew he only had one shot to sever the rope, but that wasn’t what bothered him. How to get away from the half dozen men, all armed and standing near their able-bodied horses after he fired the shot—that was what bothered him.

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  26. Hey Jules, Great post as usual. Loved reading all the first lines in your post and especially in the comments.

    We have some great starters. Makes me really want those wip's to get published so I can read the whole thing.

    BK I'm with you. LOL

    okay, I have two opinions on my current wip. My first start was action,

    "Flashflood."
    The wind carried Geri's scream in the opposite direction of the man with the child scrambling across the wash.


    but my cp wanted more like the insight into character. So I tried this, but am really not happy with it.

    Geri Brown tamped down the worry building as fast as the dark clouds. She couldn't afford to replace a washed out road. The ground shook. Rumbles echoed. Was that a child? A man followed.
    "Flashflood." Geri screamed.

    So what do you folks think?

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  27. Sandra, I'm glad to see you are playing around with your first lines. It gives me hope. :-)

    I like your action one better. It pulled me in -- just enough information to get me panicking and wanting to read more. While the second one is good, it didn't engage my emotions so it was more of a passive read...I'd still continue to read, mind you, but my heart wouldn't be hammering! :-) That's just my humble reader's opinion.

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  28. Thanks KAV, I think it has more impact.

    I love that you have a word.doc for first lines. Some days, one line seems better and I can't remember what I said. So good idea.

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  29. Love the pickup lines!
    wsmarple/at/gmail/dot/com

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  30. I loved reading through those opening lines. They're always a struggle for me, so in my current WIP I went with short and simple. Here's mine:

    Happy Anniversary. She had to say it to herself because no one else knew what she was celebrating.

    I love all the other opening lines posted here--it makes me want to read these books!
    wilsoncindyr(at)gmail(dot)com

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  31. Great post, Julie! AND A SNEAK PEAK AT NEXT YEAR'S NOVEL!!!!!!!!!!!! Are you TRYING to make my life miserable?????

    I really do love first lines. I love to read them and though I am not very good at writing them, I love to try to perfect them. So... (deep breath) here is my first line. Please note this is from a completely uneditied manuscript written in about a month's time. Scary to think what needs to be fixed!

    "You can learn a lot about a person by their shoes.

    While sitting in a public toilet stall.

    Avoiding the one eyed glare of a positive pregnancy test."


    Okay, I will be the FIRST to admit, it isn't that great, but I look forward to what you have to say!

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  32. Ahh, forgot my email.

    caseymh18(@)gmail(.)com

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  33. AAaagh! You said that word "brave" and I'm NOT. I can't post my openers here.

    BUT I am thoroughly enjoying reading everyone else's and I'm learning a lot, too. Namely, that I need to go back and revise my opening lines!

    Good work, everyone! Erica Vetsch, LOVED yours---Looking forward to reading more about Maggie.

    Julie, thank you for the post. Posts like this that you and everyone here at Seekerville write really help me in my learning process.

    jprivette1(at)roadrunner(dot)com

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  34. Hey Julie,

    I couldn't agree with you more on this post. All of the ways you mentioned to start a book catapult the reader into the story.

    I really loved your last example from "A Heart Revealed". Talk about jumping right into the action. Superb!

    Although not as intriguing, I realized that I have used dialogue in every one of my manuscripts. It puts you right in the middle of a conversation or situation and engages (hopefully) the reader's interest.

    Here is a snippet of one of mine.

    “But I’m not qualified yet. I’ve got another two semesters to finish first.”

    Paige McFarlane paced the carpeted floor of the plush office, her fingers drumming on her crossed arms. The burly man seated behind the mahogany desk pursed his lips, as if contemplating his response, and tapped a pen on his blotter.

    “There’s an eight-year-old boy who desperately needs your help,” he said. “His father is a long-standing customer here, as well as a personal friend of mine. You’d be doing us both a big favor.”

    Right away it hints at Paige's dilemma. How can she refuse his request even though she doesn't feel qualified?

    Great post! Love reading all the first lines.

    Enjoying my cup of coffee at home this morning!

    Cheers,

    Sue
    sbmason (at) sympatico (dot) ca

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  35. i loved reading this posting...and all of the 'pick up lines' from various novels.

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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  36. Sandra,

    IMHO, your first one is much stronger! Don't change it! You are free to ignore SOME of your CP's advice. :)

    Casey,
    I love your opening. Talk about drawing the reader in! Great job.

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  37. I'm new to your books - a friend recommended me, but I just had to get in to this contest of yours, Mrs. Lessman, even if I don't win :).

    Thanks for the article, I truly appreciated reading the post!

    A line from one of my books called The Petals of Rose
    ""I wonder what's inside the box," Rose mumbled to herself. "'Don't touch or look at that box. It's under your bed and I will find out if you even so much as try to get near it. I have my ways,'" she mimicked Drake Oust's harsh voice."


    maidenofemmanuel[at]aim[dot]com

    Keep up the great posts and I'll be reading :)!

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  38. Great article - very helpful!

    Here's my first paragraph:
    Maggie Murphy rubbed her hand across her eyes, trying to stay awake. Glancing in the back seat, she saw her five year old daughter, Reese, still sleeping. “I’m so tired, I’m almost envious of my own daughter’s sleep.” Maggie turned her attention back to the road, willing herself to stay awake.

    edwina[dot]cowgill[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  39. This is great great great! I'm going to put my lines out there (ugh) because I would love Julie's critique. kimberly(dot)l(dot)buckner(at)gmail(dot)com.

    1) Eden Baker should have known better than to try to collect hearts. Or men for that matter. “I’ve been waiting for that guy the whole time.” She frowned at the jack of hearts lined up with his brothers on the table in front of Bill.
    “I know, Blondie.” He chortled as he dropped his last card face down on the draw pile. “Rummy.”

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  40. Fun post!

    First line from my work in progress (not even finished yet): Meleon panted on his knees. He smiled at his boys, each struggling to do one more push up at the top of the tower of Kristos, in the ancient citadel on the Rock of the Table.


    Daughter of Eve (submission ready:)

    Verity’s heart thudded as she strapped into her captain’s chair. No turning back now; either she’d become the first astronaut through a wormhole, or space junk.

    I seem to like action . . .

    I write sci fi/fantasy in case you couldn't guess :)

    andrea [at] povbootcamp [dot] com

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  41. These are some great first lines.

    Sandra, definitely the 1st.

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  42. I was living in an ice prison until your radiance melted the bars.

    Oh, you probably want the opening line to a WIP. Be back later.

    wmussell(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  43. Hi Everyone! Hi Julie! Thanks for posting one of my first lines! And wow, what a great post.. I love all those first lines and paragraphs. And I love reading everyone's comments... lots of good writers on this blog. I'm scheduled to post something in August so I'll be back. And, hey, if you haven't read Julie's latest release.. A Hope Undaunted... you're in for a REAL Treat!!!
    God Bless..

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  44. Today is National Ice Cream Day. At Coldstone Creamery, you can try their two new flavors for free. Sadly, peach and blueberry just don't sound overly enticing. If I wanted to eat fruit, I wouldn't buy ice cream.

    Next thing we know, they're gonna start selling flavors such as carrot cake, cumcumberlicious, and salsa supreme. Blech.

    Okay, first lines...I love reading them. I hate writing them.


    "Lateness is a state of mine," Marci said, focusing more on the dag-blag-some-law-violaing motorcycle in her driver's side mirror than on the bustling traffic on the beltway. "We'll get to the meeting on time." Under her breath, she prayed, "Need some help, Lord."

    The loud noise that came out of her BFF Gretchen's nose had to be criminal in at least thirty-seven states. "No, Marse, for you lateness is a time of day." She gripped the corvette's door as Marci swerved into an opening in the left lane. "Or an excuse to go NASCAR. We're going to die. You might as well drive into the Potomac and immediately put me out of my misery."

    Marci rolled her eyes at Gretchen's well-familiar drama queen hysterics. "You'll get used to DC traffic...in time." Hearing the blare of a horn, she looked into her rear-view mirror to the motorcycle dude going all banshee on her. She didn't have to be fluent in sign language--although she was--to understand him and his DC acknowledgement of hello.

    Just as traffic ahead slowed to a bumper-to-bumper pace, he switched from the left lane to the gap she'd left in middle lane and drew close enough to tap her vette's rear spoiler.

    Oh, he was fortunate she hadn't put the top down on her white convertible or he'd hear a few choice--though redeemed-in-Christ-sanitized--words.

    Gretchen slapped the front windshield. "Hey, hey, keep your eyes on the road."

    Easing her foot off the gas pedal, Marci patted Gretchen's leg. "Relax, girlfriend. We're not going to be late," she said, keeping her car perfectly positioned with the car in front of the gestapo-hat-wearing biker. Like a chicken in a coop, he wasn't going anywhere. At least until she had to take the next exit. Before she could do that, she had to recross three lanes, including the one with biker dude.

    She looked at the congested traffic ahead. They were going to be late. Again.

    Marci leaned forward in the driver's seat for a better view of her passenger mirror. Dude wore his leather jacket as well as Wolverine did, although his jaw and red-tinted shades more aptly resembled Cyclops. He certainly had the looks and personality of a mutant. Not that she'd give him a smile of appreciation.

    Gretchen looked over her shoulder. "Are you staring at the guy on the Harley?"

    "No, not a Harley." She eyed the white and crome bike looking for a brand name and finding none. "If I had a smart phone, I'd take a picture and google real quick to see what kind of bike it is."

    Again, that criminal-in-37-states noise blew out of Gretchen's nose. "Marse, don't tempt the mothers across the country to start a group against googling and driving. They're busy enough." She opened the fushia briefcase sitting on her lap and whipped out her moble phone. "However, I wouldn't mide a picture of the biker." And then she rolled down her window and yelled "smile."

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  45. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  46. Everytime we play the opening line game, I go to my opening lines of my WIP and I always think they're too lame to post.

    I need to send a note to myself. Work harder on Opening lines.

    I love that Five Horsemen of the Apocolypse, and I'm really fond of, "Belle Tanner threw dirt on Anthony's handsome, Worthless face."

    But I need to do more. I'm staring at my opening line right now.


    "Ethan!” Audra rounded a boulder.
    Her tone brought Ethan's head up. "What?"
    “Where's Maggie?"


    Okay, that's sort of urgent. Maggie's the toddler. revealed in another line of two. Baby toddled off into a ... oh, you know, snake pit, active volcano, quicksand, something like that. But the line isn't really cool, important, enduring, you know?

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  47. How fun to read all these opening lines! Here's the opening line from my latest wip...

    There comes a time in every modern woman's life when the stiletto breaks and her backside meets concrete.

    Oh, and I'd love to be entered in the drawings! forgravebooks (at) gmail (dot) com

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  48. What a great post! (The beginning was hilarious!) I loved all those examples and was glad for the reminder about what Joan said.

    My first lines of my WIP - it's off to the editor now and I hope it will grab her attention.

    “Imagine having to bear a mark like that for the rest of your life.” Eliana Van Horn thrust The San Juan Prospector into her father’s face as they ambled down the boardwalk of the thriving boomtown. “The tattoo on her chin, how dreadful–and there’s nothing that can be done about it!”


    Blessings!
    carlagade (at) gmail (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  49. First paragraph - Completed WIP

    Haibara, Japan - August, 1587

    The icy stare from three mounted samurai swept over the assembled group of servants at Sagawa castle. Sen Goami shivered despite the light silk kimono she wore and the late August heat. Behind the men, a procession of one hundred additional samurai advanced on foot.

    Second WIP
    Osaka, Japan. Early October, 1569

    “Aiiii!”

    Mori struggled to rise from his futon. He coughed and spit up phlegm, the flu wracked his body. He crawled to the door, grabbing the frame to pull himself up, and stared at the room across the hall.

    Its door slid open, terror etched on his mother’s face. “There’s a problem with Megu’s labor. We need to get her to a doctor fast.”

    Third WIP
    Kyoto, Japan - February 1591

    “Aiiii.”
    Toshi Tokoda’s pulse raced, sharpening his eyesight in the moonlight. His hand flew to the hilt of his sword as he scanned the neighborhood, searching for the source of the muffled scream. The ancient temple. The scream came from there. He darted toward the crumbling building and scrambled through the front gate, running around the heavy wooden door still hanging from its hinges. He bounded to the front entrance, the solid hard wood of the deck jarring his joints. He slowed as he approached the door and slid it open, peering inside.


    As you may have noticed, I like opening with a scream. :-)

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  50. Great post--and I really enjoyed reading all those hooks. I'm going to be adding to my already overloaded TBR pile, thank you very much!

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  51. I kind of like this one, opening lines (plural) to Sharpshooter in Petticoats, coming in January. (note that it is literally a 'cliffhanger')

    :)

    Tom Linscott slid backward five feet before he caught a slender rock ledge and clawed at it to stop himself from plunging a hundred feet more.
    The rock was nearly sheer. He felt blood flowing from his torn up fingertips. His grip was shaky already and now it was slick with blood. He clung to that ledge like a scared house cat, afraid to move, fighting to slow his slamming heart and steady his breathing. He'd been climbing a long time and he had a long way to fall if his grip didn't hold.
    Then he did what any thinking man did when something scared him.
    He got mad.
    So, he clung to the side of that stupid mountain, gathered his strength to go the last twenty-five or so feet, and fumed. He was a rancher not a mountain goat. He should not have had to climb up here.
    No woman should be this hard to get.

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  52. This is Tina P. signing on in anonymous again.

    Great Post, Julie

    Here's some of my opening lines.

    From Dust in the Sunlight- A Family Portrait

    "Hello. I see you at the edge of my words. Will you venture into my story?
    You are hesitant to move. Does the antiseptic smell of sickness hold you at bay? Or do you fear opening your heart to a stranger?
    I can do nothing about the stench, but perhaps an introduction will soothe the latter. My name is David, David Paremen, and I'm dying.

    From Intersection. When Silhouettes Collage

    "Please, God, don't let him die. Don't let him die." Rachel put her hands to her stomach and waited for the baby to move. Each second that passed without a kick or a jab gave her cause to worry.

    From Finding Middle C

    "I see, you’ve been assigned to the monster’s room today," Beatrice, the head nurse on the ward, said when Maggie reached the nurse's station.
    "The monster," Maggie whispered and took a deep breath. She didn’t recall the monster being on her list when she arrived to volunteer that morning. But sure enough, there was one room left on her chart for the day. Room 3C.

    tpinson.co(at)netzero.net

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  53. I'M BACK ... and hallelujah, the deaf can finally hear!!!! Forgive me if I am screaming, but I have been talking loud all morning ... :)

    KIRSTEN, you can't go wrong with dialogue AND coffee, girl, so nice job!

    JESSICA ... you haven't seen Glynna's first line because her book isn't out until February 2011, so be sure to mark that on your calendar!!!! And, girl??? I absolutely LOVE that first line of yours!! Definitely a humorous hook!!

    KAV ... you are TOO cute!! A Word doc with first lines??? Not a bad idea, sweetie. I don't know how other authors do it, but as far as my first lines, I sit down at my laptop and close my eyes and imagine the character I'm writing about and BOOM!! A first line usually comes to me, just like that. The only time it didn't happen that way was on A Passion Most Pure when my original first line (draft 1 of 300!!) was ... are you ready?

    Sometimes, as hard as she tried not to, Faith O'Connor entertained notions of slapping her sister silly.

    And then on A Hope Undaunted, which releases Sept. 1st -- my original first line was:

    Love at first sight, my foot.

    But my editor didn't like that, so I changed it to:

    Now this is how love should be -- nice and neat!

    Great question, Kav!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  54. First few lines for my fantasy YA:

    I braced my arms for impact against the cold, hard floor. My papers scattered everywhere. My books fell with a thud. I snatched my belongings and glared at the culprit, a senior football player.

    “Freak.” He snickered, elbowing a teammate.


    And from my urban fantasy:

    My prey muttered a curse and slid a few feet down the miniature mountainside. I handled the gravel climb with ease, but the man I stalked panted heavily and looked around with wild eyes.

    Great blog post!

    ~Nicole
    Nicole.Zoltack AT gmail.com

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  55. Sorry, HOLLY, but I'm doing final, final edits on A Heart Revealed today and tomorrow before I send it to my editor and I needed "action" first lines, so I decided to use it. The prologue is intense, obviously, but the first line of the first chapter is much lighter:

    Always a bridesmaid, never a bride … and the saints be praised!

    Holly, good job of combining several of the tips above -- dialogue, shock and humor! Great start, my friend.

    PATTY W.!!! How are you girl?? And, boy you can sure tell that writers frequent this blog because all the first lines have been awesome, including yours! You nailed it on brevity and humor, my friend.

    GLYNNA ... I don't know if I told you how much I LOVE your first line -- brevity, drama, humor and TRUTH!!! :)

    Come on, PATTY, throw a few at us, girl. Give us two or three and we'll tell you which one we like, okay?

    RUTHY .... Peach pie???? Groan ... my favorite and I'm a diet, too. That's just plain cruel because I even gain weight on cyber calories, it seems ... And talk about chock full of Ruthy thoughts, wit and action with that classic example, my friend!

    MELANIE ... I cannot WAIT to get my hands on The Healer's Apprentice, girl!! Love the first line because you had me at "two handsome sons," and the second one riveted me with the action/suspense.

    SANDRA, WOW, you got me interested right out the gate with "flash flood," girl, so I would definitely use that as your first line. What about mixing the two with:

    "Flashflood!" Geri Brown tamped down the worry building as fast as the dark clouds. She couldn't afford to replace a washed out road. The ground shook. Rumbles echoed. Was that a child? A man followed.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  56. I've been thinking of needing to go polish up my hook on this one book, so what better day than today with your contest? So, I have.

    Whichever Bride Stays:

    Everett Cline didn’t drive by the Smiths’ place to ask if they needed anything while he was in town. He hadn't the courage to tell them he’d followed Rachel’s suggestion and chosen a bride from the matrimonial ads. Like his horse’s hooves, his heart galloped knowing that under the growing puff of smoke marring Salina’s gray-blue sky sat the future Mrs. Cline.

    rmjagears AT gmail DOT com

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  57. Really enjoyed this post; and would love to be entered for Julie's book(s). Thanks!!!
    jackie.smithATdishmailDOTnet

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  58. KAV, good call on Sandra's action line, I agree. Action is always a winner.

    WENDY, thanks for stopping by and I forgot to tell people to let me know if you want to win the book or the critique, okay? Good luck, sweetie.

    CINDY ... I really like it, girl -- short and "bitter"sweet and poignant. You hit my sympathy button immediately, which is GREAT!

    CASEY!!! Are you kidding me??? "Not good at writing them"???? You're crazy, girl, because those are OUTSTANDING!! Clever, funny and VERY telling. Great job!

    Hey, MARY, this is where we ALL learn and commiserate on the writing journey. NONE of us hit home runs right out the gate, trust me, but brainstorming with others really helps. So come on, sweetie, square your shoulders and toss us two or three lines you're thinking of and let us vote, okay?

    SUE!!! Bite your tongue, girl!! Dialogue is VERY effective, as is your example in hooking us in. Apparently dialogue is what you feel the most comfortable with since you use it all the time in your openings. It would be interesting to see which style appeals to you from a reader's perspective -- do you lean toward liking the dialogue openings best?

    And thank you for your kind comments on the opening from A Heart Revealed. I actually added that scene because my agent said I needed more tension in the opening, so once again, the woman was right. Sigh. Which is why I pay her the big bucks, I guess (yeah, right ... I pay her, but not big bucks ... :)).

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  59. Loved reading through all these opening line examples! And what fun seeing a quote from Romance by the Book in that speech bubble at the very top!

    Gina. So not fair. They closed our Cold Stone last year. I immediately went into withdrawal.

    I'm with Mary--looking back at some of my earlier first lines, I think they're actually kind of lame. So I'm on a crusade to develop sharper, catchier openings. My favorites lately are the attention-grabbing one-liners--whether in dialogue, character thoughts, or narrative.

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  60. Okay -- here's the current first line in my WIP:

    “I have worked too hard and come too far to be turned away by some postulating Neanderthal wannabe.”

    rowanwood(at)rogers(dot)com

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  61. Hey, KAREN, thanks for stopping by and lending your support, as always. Since I am a first-line freak (I LOVE them!!), this has been fun for me today, too.

    DITTO what SUE said, Casey!!

    MAIDEN ... Welcome to Seekerville and welcome to my books! I forgot to mention that I am currently running another giveaway through Friday over at Amber's blog, so put your bid in there, too, then be sure to check my website calendar all summer for blog giveaways. No sense in buying the book if you can win a signed copy, right? Just ask Sherrinda, who's won my books five times!! Here's Amber's current giveaway:

    Seasons of Humility book giveaway

    And you can't go wrong with dialogue, Maiden, but how about using the double power of a thought AND dialogue instead of two people's dialogue, which might come off as confusing to some people?? You could mix it up with a thought first, then dialogue like this, shortening both the thought and dialogue just a tad:

    I wonder what's in the box, Rose thought to herself.

    "Don't touch or look!" Drake Oust's harsh warning flashed in her mind. "I will know if you so much as try to get near it. Believe me, I have my ways."

    What do you think?

    EDWINA, thanks for being brave enough to not only give us an example, BUT to invite me to give you my suggestions.First of all, I REALLY like the first line because you are giving us insight that Maggie is tired, which to me, indicates something not so great is about to happen. Am I right?

    Then you continue with action followed by dialogue, which is good:

    Glancing in the back seat, she saw her five year old daughter, Reese, still sleeping. “I’m so tired, I’m almost envious of my own daughter’s sleep.”

    The only thing I would suggest is that you make the dialogue more natural, maybe sarcastic or humorous. I like to think of it this way. If I were glancing back at my sleeping baby in the back seat, I can't see myself saying that dialogue. Of course, I'm a somewhat crazy, off-the-wall person, but even so, I think you can enhance this first paragraph with humor. Something like:

    “Hold the snoring down, sweetie, you're keeping me awake."

    Or

    "Snooze a little for me, will you Suz? I'm beat."

    Or

    "Your turn to drive, Suz, I need a nap."

    Whatever you say, it has to be something you would say to yourself. Repeat your line as if you were saying that to your baby and see if it feels natural to you.

    Other than that, Edwina, you hooked me right off.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  62. KIMBERLY!!! Oh-oh, another brave soul wanting my input. Okay, sweetie, here you go. First of all, I LOVE the first two lines because there's a double meaning going on, which is fun. You've got double impact with a thought followed by dialogue. The only thing I would do is shorten the dialogue and make it play off the double meaning by saying "my whole life" instead of the "whole time."

    Also, dialogue is much more effective when it's shorter and simpler, so I've done that below. One last thing, always try to "SHOW" rather than "TELL" wherever you can. For instance, instead of telling that she "frowned," show it with facial action if you can like I did in the 2nd example, okay? What do you think?

    The Original version:

    Eden Baker should have known better than to try to collect hearts. Or men for that matter. “I’ve been waiting for that guy the whole time.” She frowned at the jack of hearts lined up with his brothers on the table in front of Bill.
    “I know, Blondie.” He chortled as he dropped his last card face down on the draw pile. “Rummy.”

    The Edited Version:

    Eden Baker should have known better than to try to collect hearts. Or men for that matter.

    “I’ve been waiting for that guy my whole life,” she said with sigh, eyes narrowing at the jack of hearts on the table in front of Bill.

    “I know, Blondie.” Bill dropped his last card face down on the draw pile with a cocky grin. “Rummy.”

    Otherwise, you are on your way to a winner, Kimberly!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  63. This is my first rough draft, but I'm going to go ahead and share it anyway:


    Where her blood touched the mark was still left. The spots on my arms and hands were familiar though phantom scars. Every day in the shower I would scrub at these spots using a sea sponge until tiny drops of blood appeared. I shed my own blood to keep in my memory what I could never be forgiven. All those faded memories still stuck in the bottom of my underwear drawer.

    My two-year-old son is bringing powdered sugar doughnuts.

    BTW, Julie, I started APMP last night and am really enjoying it so far. Also was listening to you today on Donald James Parker's show (I know it wasn't recent). Very encouraging to me.

    julesreffner(at)gmail(dot)com

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  64. Thanks for the smiles and the anticipation of great books to come, you hooked me with your creative opening lines. Please include my name for your newest book, Julie.
    worthy2bpraised[at]gmail[dot]com

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  65. ANDREA!!! Uh, yeah, I got the sci-fi thread right off the bat, girl! Great lines using action -- always a winner! I especially like Daughter of Eve ... both the title AND the first line. Good job!!

    RENEE ... I agree, we have had some wonderful first lines here today. Sooo fun!!

    WALT!!! You had me laughing out loud at your line below, even reading it to my husband. Thanks for the chuckle. That would be a killer first line, mister, OR a great line in a bar ... (for somebody else, not you, unless you are with your wife ... :))

    I was living in an ice prison until your radiance melted the bars.

    MARYLU!!!! One of my FAVORITE people AND authors!! Thank you for stopping by and for the plug!! It gives me great joy to be able to honestly and wholeheartedly tell everyone here that your books are AWESOME and some of my favorite reads. Lots of romance, adventure with just the "edge" that I love. Thanks for stopping by, sweetie.

    GINA!!!! Talk about action-packed, sweetie. What, you taking lessons from Cheryl Wyatt or something???
    Gotta tell you right off that I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE this line:

    The loud noise that came out of her BFF Gretchen's nose had to be criminal in at least thirty-seven states.

    And if it were me, I would do my level best to make that your first line, truly.

    MARY ... NOBODY does humor than you, my friend (although Gina's giving you a run for your money with her line above!) and most of your first lines are hysterical. I don't know if your current WIP is a serious book, but if it's not, go with a sure thing and slap some Connealy humor in there, girl!! Thar's gold in them there quips of yours!!

    SARAH!!! WHOA, BABY, GREAT LINE!! I LOVE it, really, and wouldn't change a thing!! Gosh, I'm even gonna repeat it here, it's so good:

    There comes a time in every modern woman's life when the stiletto breaks and her backside meets concrete.

    Excellent, really!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  66. Hi Julie:

    Once again a great post. I especially like first line topics. I think first lines are of great importance to editors but I don’t think they are that important with readers. I also think first lines should be like doctors: “First Do No Harm”.

    I buy a book first because of the author, then because of the theme. If the book is by an author I like or a theme I like, then I may not even read the first line. In fact, I would say that in over 90% of the books I’ve bought, I did not read the first line at all.

    Also, consider why the reader is buying the book. I love to read about the Outback but I want the characters to really be in the Outback -- preferably sleeping under the stars. If the story starts with a rather dull description of the Outback at night, I’m in heaven. That’s what I want. But I know, editors are the ones that really count.

    I liked all the first lines you mentioned except one. You have three of my favorites: Missy’s, Camy’s, and yours regarding ‘sisters’. But you also have one that I think may do harm. All things being equal, the below opening would turn me off from buying the book.

    ”She heard it before she felt it. Harsh air sucking through clenched teeth,
    the grunt of an arm raised, the soft swish of a hand slicing the air.
    “I want the truth—”
    And then she felt it. The crack of knuckles when her jaw met
    the back of his hand, the thud of her head against the wall,
    the putrid rise of nausea as it climbed in her throat.
    “Did you sleep with him?”
    “No, I swear—”
    "Liar!"

    A Heart Revealed, Julie Lessman, September 2011

    I don’t read romances to read about a woman being beaten or battered. So while I don’t put much faith in first lines, they can act to veto a book purchase for me. The violence can be deeper into the book. I just read a very good western romance where the heroine has both her thumbs dislocated by the villain to prove he means business. If the story opened with that scene, I would not have bought it.

    In a way, I see the first line as being the window into the soul of the book. That’s why I think your sister line is perfect because it is true of all three books. I’m just not sure about your violent opening.

    I’ve used all my first lines in past posts so I’ll use this one from a short story I wrote called “The Sniper”.


    It was the wrong day for Eric Mason to discover he had a ten year old son and that he was the one who killed the boy’s mother.


    Here’s a first line from a wonderful book called “The Almost Always Come Home” which I reviewed on the ACFW site:

    "Do dead people wear shoes? In the casket, I mean. Seems a waste. Then again, no outfit is complete without shoes".

    This line grabbed me and the following text never let me go until the last page.

    Thanks for your post. I hope you don’t mind my comment about your opening line!!!

    Vince

    Vmres (at) swbell (dot) net

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  67. CARLA ... dialogue and shock -- good combination! You piqued my interest, and I'll bet you do the editor's too. Saying one for you RIGHT NOW, sweetie, for supernatural favor!

    WALT ... screams are AWESOME, my friend, especially these two because right off the bat, I think Japanese passion and emotion, which is a good thing -- pulls you right in. And your first example below? Excellent -- you painted a picture for me immediately, which was very tense and dramatic. Great job!

    The icy stare from three mounted samurai swept over the assembled group of servants at Sagawa castle.

    BETH ... thank you for coming by and honestly, I have read just about every one of the books above that I used, and you can NOT go wrong with any of them, truly.

    MARY ... AH ... nail-biting action!! Does it get any better than that? Uh, yeah, when there's a spin of Connealy humor like these fabulous lines:

    He was a rancher not a mountain goat. He should not have had to climb up here. No woman should be this hard to get.

    Can't wait to read it, Mare!!

    TINA P!!!!!! OMIGOSH, girl, talk about a gut punch! I absolutely LOVE your first example from Dust in the Sunlight -- EXCELLENT opening, really! And the other two are very strong, too, but then dialogue is strong, especially with a dose of drama like you've done.

    Thanks, NICOLE, and great examples, both, with a definite YA feel, so good job. Both STRONG action to pull you in.

    MJ ... thanks for the great example. Sounds like a REALLY good story, girl! Good luck in the contest AND with your WIP!

    JACKIE!!! Girl, you're gonna win a book yet, you mark my words. Thanks for your support, sweetie.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  68. Hi Julie:

    Once again a great post. I especially like first line topics. I think first lines are of great importance to editors but I don’t think they are that important with readers. I also think first lines should be like doctors: “First Do No Harm”.

    I buy a book first because of the author, then because of the theme. If the book is by an author I like or a theme I like, then I may not even read the first line. In fact, I would say that in over 90% of the books I’ve bought, I did not read the first line at all.

    Also, consider why the reader is buying the book. I love to read about the Outback but I want the characters to really be in the Outback -- preferably sleeping under the stars. If the story starts with a rather dull description of the Outback at night, I’m in heaven. That’s what I want. But I know, editors are the ones that really count.

    I liked all the first lines you mentioned except one. You have three of my favorites: Missy’s, Camy’s, and yours regarding ‘sisters’. But you also have one that I think may do harm. All things being equal, the below opening would turn me off from buying the book.

    ”She heard it before she felt it. Harsh air sucking through clenched teeth,
    the grunt of an arm raised, the soft swish of a hand slicing the air.
    “I want the truth—”
    And then she felt it. The crack of knuckles when her jaw met
    the back of his hand, the thud of her head against the wall,
    the putrid rise of nausea as it climbed in her throat.
    “Did you sleep with him?”
    “No, I swear—”
    "Liar!"

    A Heart Revealed, Julie Lessman, September 2011

    I don’t read romances to read about a woman being beaten or battered. So while I don’t put much faith in first lines, they can act to veto a book purchase for me. The violence can be deeper into the book. I just read a very good western romance where the heroine has both her thumbs dislocated by the villain to prove he means business. If the story opened with that scene, I would not have bought it.

    In a way, I see the first line as being the window into the soul of the book. That’s why I think your sister line is perfect because it is true of all three books. I’m just not sure about your violent opening.

    I’ve used all my first lines in past posts so I’ll use this one from a short story I wrote called “The Sniper”.


    It was the wrong day for Eric Mason to discover he had a ten year old son and that he was the one who killed the boy’s mother.


    Here’s a first line from a wonderful book called “They Almost Always Come Home” which I reviewed on the ACFW site:

    "Do dead people wear shoes? In the casket, I mean. Seems a waste. Then again, no outfit is complete without shoes".

    This line grabbed me and the following text never let me go until the last page.

    Thanks for your post. I hope you don’t mind my comment about your violent opening line!!!

    Vince

    vmres (at) swbell (dot) net

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  69. MYRA, NOOO!!!!!! I am SO sorry I didn't credit you with that, my friend, but I knew I read that somewhere. GREAT LINE, sweetie!!

    KAV!!!! WOW ... LOVE IT!! Great mix of dialogue and humor, sweetie. It's a keeper.

    “I have worked too hard and come too far to be turned away by some postulating Neanderthal wannabe.”

    JULIA ... WOW, thanks SO much for going out and getting APMP ... you are FAST, girl!!

    And, WHOA, you got me with the phrase "phantom scars," my friend ... VERY eerie, which is what you are going for, I'm guessing. To add a touch of drama to an already dramatic opening, it would be fun to see you play up the phrase "phantom scars" by bringing it and the action up front and center. See what you think:

    Your original:

    Where her blood touched the mark was still left. The spots on my arms and hands were familiar though phantom scars. Every day in the shower I would scrub at these spots using a sea sponge until tiny drops of blood appeared. I shed my own blood to keep in my memory what I could never be forgiven. All those faded memories still stuck in the bottom of my underwear drawer.

    Edited version:

    I scrubbed and scrubbed, but I could still see her blood on my phantom scars. Every day in the shower I used a sea sponge until tiny drops of blood appeared, the shedding of my own blood in memory of what I could never be forgiven. Faded memories still buried in the bottom of an underwear drawer.

    So, what do you think?

    MERRY ... thank you SO much!! Now if I can just carry you past my opening lines, then we're in good shape, right? :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  70. VINCE ... NO, my friend, I do NOT mind your input on the violent prologue because I want to know people's impression, obviously. I certainly see what you mean if a die-hard romance reader read that first, so good point. My agent actually loved it, so I am hoping my editor will too. It goes from the violent prologue to a much lighter, happier wedding scene, but it will be interesting to see if my editor agrees with you. Thank you SO much for honesty, though, because I am not just a "Seeker," I am a "Truth Seeker" as well!

    But, oh-oh, for me, first lines and paragraphs are PARAMOUNT in helping me to decide if I will buy a book or not. But it's interesting that you don't feel that way. Goes to show you that readers are as diverse as genres!

    I realllly like your first line below -- lots of drama, which I LOVE!

    It was the wrong day for Eric Mason to discover he had a ten year old son and that he was the one who killed the boy’s mother.

    And I love, love, LOVE the line you quoted from They Almost Always Come Home:

    "Do dead people wear shoes? In the casket, I mean. Seems a waste. Then again, no outfit is complete without shoes".

    VERY COOL!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  71. Mary, I think the last line of your comment "No woman should be this hard to get" should be your first line! It's funny and makes me wonder what's going. Even funnier when I realize he's about to fall of a cliff.
    Just my opinion. :-)

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  72. OK, here goes. Y'all, please be kind to me. It's long, I know.



    "A-ah! I caught you!" Kane Tabor, the handsome, red-haired gardener stepped out from behind a neatly clipped hedge.

    "That you did." Penelope instantly stopped splashing in the creek. "Caught me in my barefeet, I'm ashamed to say."

    Kane bent down and looked closely, as if to examine her feet, which she curled up under the hem of her skirt. "Oh, I don't know about that. I wouldn't be ashamed of those feet. They look like pretty feet to me."

    She looked up sharply at him and he winked. Her heart started to pound harder. Why, he was flirting with her, wasn't he?

    "I'll thank you for your kind and generous observation, but I think I will shod them all the same," she replied.

    He shrugged. "Suit yourself". With one easy, graceful motion he lowered his large body down on the grass next to her. She had stuffed her stockings in her pocket and shoved her bare feet into her shoes as quickly as she could.

    "Say," he said lazily, leaning back on his elbows and stretching his long legs out, "You didn't happen to bring a canteen or a basket of food out here, did you?"

    "Why, no, Mr. Tabor. I had not planned for an impromptu picnic."

    "Whatever kind of picnic you want to have, I think we should."

    "We should what?"

    "Have it. A picnic. You know, eat. Together. That is, unless you're averse to eating outdoors with me."

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  73. Walt, the pick-up line was hysterical!

    Julie, I am the cordon bleu queen of pop-tart preparation. My husband sympathizes with yours on the writer/culinary skill deficit combination. :)

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  74. Okay - so if you enter more than one first line, do you get your name in the drawing more than once ;-)
    I'm determined to win a copy, Julie - even though I don't have Sherrinda's eptitude for success in that area :-)

    GREAT post, btw. Wow, so many different ways to grab attention. And I realize I start with thoughts a lot too.

    Here are a few of mine:

    Sophia Quinn hated starting off new assignments with insufficient information. Especially if lack of knowledge led to her death, or worse, someone else’s immortality.

    You can take the girl out of the mountains, but you can’t take the mountains out of the girl…or the clumsiness. That’s the only explanation Eisley Barrett had for ending her first hour in London with a nightmare.

    Oh and here's my email - just to make sure I get into the drawing. ;-)
    pepperbasham(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  75. I just want to say I know mine is horrendously long and vague and not quite right! BUT the important thing is that I have learned so much from today's exercise. Thank you, Julie, and EVERYONE!

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  76. JESSICA ... I TOTALLY AGREE!!! That line is a killer line, Mare.

    MARY ... dialogue AND surprise -- good combo! This sounds like a historical. Is it? The one thing I would change is Kane's hair color, though, because for some reason, the minute I see the word "red-headed" for a man, I squirm and I don't know why. One of my favorite heroes of ALL time is Jamie Fraser from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander, and he has red hair, so go figure. I think it's because I knew too many red-headed guys that I didn't like in my life. :) But I LOVE the name Kane! Good opening!

    ERICA ... GRIN ... you even TALK in first lines: I am the cordon bleu queen of pop-tart preparation.

    Now really, wouldn't that make a GREAT first line???

    PEPPER ... I just flat-out like your writing, my friend, that's all there is to it! I know someone told you that you have a style similar to mine, so maybe that's why. Anyway, LOVE:

    Sophia Quinn hated starting off new assignments with insufficient information. Especially if lack of knowledge led to her death, or worse, someone else’s immortality.

    VERY cool!

    MIA ... what the heck are you talking about, girl??? "Not good at writing them"??? I beg to differ. I LOVE this line because it has the feel of light and airy until you hit the last word and then BAM! Right in the gut with that lovely eerie feeling that sets up a good mystery. Good job!

    It was the perfect day for a drowning.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  77. I can't come up with a catchy first liner but I want to be entered into the contest, I read but can't write


    mamat2730(at)charter(dot)net

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  78. Jules,
    I'm hanging on to that compliment for the rest of my life. Oh dear. Whether true or not, it sure made me smile.
    Here's one I just wrote yesterday. :-)
    (then I've got to get back to cutting out foam tiger heads for Bible School :-)

    God was mad at her. He had to be. Rainey Mitchell looked up at the overcast sky just in case God looked down – so he could see she wasn’t laughing. Not one bit. And she had a great sense of humor.

    This had to be penance. All her sins, past, present, and future, rolled up into one year of working with that self-absorbed, smooth-talkin’, pretty boy, Alexander Murdock. She really should pray more.

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  79. Julie!!

    Thanks so much for your email!! Here I am! Loved this post. Lots for me to learn!! I think I'm with you - I have a feeling I'll be using 'thoughts' a lot in my writing.

    I'll be brave - here are my first lines of the very first piece of fiction I wrote, earlier this year. I've been wanting to write for years and now have people in my life encouraging me to get started. I feel the time is almost here for me to seriously get to it!
    ---
    Michael’s heart was breaking, almost in two. A severe car accident had ended the life of his 3-year-old son. Not only that, but his wife was the reason. And it was her betrayal that was causing the literal pain in his heart more than anything else. The fact that she had had Joshua in the car with her was not the problem…it was that she was taking him with her as she ran away with her lover.
    ----
    I'm with Casey - it most likely needs a bucket-load of editing!!

    Thanks heaps for being in touch! :o)

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  80. Julie,

    I love your version! Thanks so much for offering "help." Most times I feel like I have so much to learn and I've learned so much from all you sweet ACFW members.

    I am loving A Passion Most Pure so far! I am so glad it is a "fat saga" even though I'm a slow reader because I don't want to be finished :)

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  81. Thanks so much for your advice, Julie!

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  82. Vince,

    Great name for a character: Eric Mason. That's my son's name. He turns 14 on Friday.

    Just had to share....

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  83. Here goes:

    There were advantages to losing one’s mind. No regrets about the past. No worries about the future.

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  84. Julie,
    I'm with you...I love first lines! Often when I'm browsing in bookstores, I'll read the first line of all the books on a particular shelf. Fun...maybe wierd.

    Thanks for providing lots of first lines for us to review today.

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  85. Thank you Julie. :) That is really encouraging for me. That is actually all one line, but broken up into three paragraphs to give it a more fast paced feel-- I hope! That first line is what started my novel and gave me the story. I had that before the characters or story idea really!

    Oh, and thank you Sue, it is appreciated!

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  86. Ooops - forgot my email - I would love to win! :o)
    e[dot]johnsen[at]clear[dot]net[dot]nz

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  87. Thanks, Julie! Yes, it is a historical. Can the hero go from red hair to auburn hair? ;-)

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  88. Loved reading this. Very informative -- and FUN!

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  89. Hi Julie:

    You made me think more about the importance of the first line in selling a book to a reader. It depends partly on the reader. I buy mostly larger print books and ebooks so I can make the print as large as I want. I also buy trade paperbacks, like yours, and hope the print is big enough. I almost never buy a book in a bookstore. I don’t usually get a chance to read the first line.

    It would be interesting to know how many romances are sold in stores. Then it would be useful to determine how many of those books are sold to buyers who read the first line and not simply put the book in their shopping carts.

    This will also depend on the publisher. What if most books are sold to subscribers and not in bookstores? The first line may not count at all in these cases as far as selling the book to a reader.

    But there's another important factor that I think makes the first line even ten times more important:

    The first line often makes the, career-building, ‘second sale’ to the reader!

    Like a lot of romance fans I have many books in my TBR pile. Often the first line determines which of those TBR books actually gets read!

    If you want to build a career, you not only have to sell books, you need for those books to be read. If a reader has your book, unread in a her TBR pile, it is very unlikely that that reader will buy another one of your books -- until she's read the book that she already has.

    It is very important to get your books read and to inspire readers to buy your next book or book from your backlist.

    Moreover, if you want all the hard work you put into those small turnout book signings to pay off, you need those ‘second sales’! People will buy your book because they met you at a book signing but that does not insure that they will read the book. The ‘second sale’ will do that for you.

    Now I’m looking forward to more posts on first lines!

    Thanks,

    Vince

    P.S. I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens to “A Heart Revealed”.

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  90. Here are the first lines of my 3 novels:

    First line of Kicking Eternity: "Raine pushed the beads on her African bracelet back and forth like the balls on an abacus. The last time she felt like this, it hadn't turned out well."

    First line of Avra's God: "Avra's head jerked up--that voice."

    First line of Tattered Innocence: "Rachel hot-footed it across the glittering sand of the Dolphin View Restaurant lot, too-new sandals clenched in her hand. The denim of her skirt caught above her knees and shortened her stride. She slowed her breath. Hyperventilating wouldn't help her ace this interview, and crewing on The Syrna Queen was her only way out."

    Ann_Lee_Miller@msn.com
    AnnLeeMiller.com

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  91. EDNA, honey, don't you worry your pretty little head about being a reader instead of a writer, you hear? Somebody's got to read what we write, right???? Consider yourself entered, sweetie.

    PEP, glad I could make you smile because you did the same for me with your "God is mad at her" paragraph because it sounds a lot like a conversation I would have in my own head. Uh, you don't read minds, do you??? Love it!

    ELIZABETH -- you made it!!! Thanks SO much for coming by, sweetie -- MUCH appreciated! And I am SOOO proud of you for stepping out to pursue your dream of writing and being brave enough to share here today.

    Wow, sounds like you have a story to tell that could be very powerful, so ideally, you want your first line to reflect that. When I hear someone's heart is "breaking," I tend to think of women and romance rather than a man in pain, so I would go for more drama and stark sentencing, such as my example below. You want to avoid "telling" what's happening and try to "show" it instead. Keep in mind this is just ONE example of how you COULD infuse more drama and impact. There are many ways you can do it, but this will give you an idea of what I'm talking about.

    Original opening:

    Michael’s heart was breaking, almost in two. A severe car accident had ended the life of his 3-year-old son. Not only that, but his wife was the reason. And it was her betrayal that was causing the literal pain in his heart more than anything else. The fact that she had had Joshua in the car with her was not the problem…it was that she was taking him with her as she ran away with her lover.

    Edited opening:

    Everything was dead. His child, his marriage, his hope. Everything but hate, leaving his life mere wreckage as twisted and fatal as the car accident that claimed his son's life. Hate churned in his gut. And "she" was to blame ... she and her lover.

    Elizabeth -- do you have any idea how many first paragraphs I had for A Passion Most Pure??? TONS! First lines and paragraphs are so critical that they have to be crafted through time, practice and revision, and you, my friend, are well on your way with what sounds to me like a haunting story just bleeding with emotion. Go get 'em, girl!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  92. JULIA ... oh, honey, join the club. As authors hoping to cast a spell on readers, we NEVER stop learning, none of us. I am starting my 6th book next week, but I still feel like a newbie, greenhorn and hack at times because the learning process never ends. The good news is that hopefully we get better and better and able to share the wealth of what we have learned. That's what The Seekers are all about, so this is good place to hang around.

    And thanks, sweetie, for your kind words about A Passion Most Pure. Do you know that I edited that book over 60 times before I sold, and I just finished rereading it yesterday and still found TONS of edits I wanted to make, which just goes to show the learning never ends.

    KIMBERLY, you are SO welcome. As kids of the King, we're all in this together, after all, right?

    DEBRA!!! OMIGOSH, I LOVE it!!!! You nailed it, girl, but why am I not surprised??? That is a GREAT first line, my friend!

    There were advantages to losing one’s mind. No regrets about the past. No worries about the future.

    Hey, DEBBY, that sounds like a lot of fun -- I'll have to try it ... :)

    CASE, I meant every single word, my friend. Great job!

    MARY ... mmm, well, okay, I'll let you!! :) Actually, Mary, that is what I am doing for Steven O'Connor in the last book of the Winds of Change series. As a kid, he was a cute, freckle-faced carrot-top, but as a deep, smoldering hero, I'm changing his hair color to dark auburn or just dark brown with hints of auburn. But seriously, girl, I may be the only one not partial to red hair in guys, so go for it! :)

    VINCE ... you are one of those constant "thinkers," aren't you??? Deep, analytical, probing. I'm deep, too, but in my emotions, not my thinking, so I admire someone whose brain is constantly working.

    I think it's interesting that you don't "buy" a book based on a first line, but you do "read" a book from your TBR list based on a first line, which once again shows that your thinking, analytical skills drive you rather than your emotions. Now me? I'm emotionally driven ALL THE WAY!! Isn't it fun that we are all so different??

    Thanks for your thoughts on the subject -- always enlightening and ALWAYS thought-provoking.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  93. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  94. SHAWNA ... thanks SO much, sweetie, and good luck in the contest.

    Oooooh, Ann, you got that action thing going reallllly good! Talk about hooking a reader in! I especially like: "Avra's head jerked up--that voice." Short, sweet, and VERY effective.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  95. I'm soooo late to the party today, and will be for the next several weeks...
    (no - not my first line - just my excuse for being so late today!)

    my first line for May on the Way is:

    Hope flickered with the phone call.

    may at maythek9 spy dot com

    Looking forward to reading through 95 (!) comments when I have a breather. Can't WAIT!

    Y'all always have great stuff to learn... This is one of the BEST! :)

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  96. Thanks for the tip and the insight! I actually switched it around, first drafts scare me and sometimes I don't take notice of the things I mean to fix! Anywho, thanks :)!
    ~Maiden

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  97. Ooo can I still get in on this even though I'm a day late?

    I love those pick up lines especially from Pride and Prejudice, it's hard to beat a classic. I gotta say that Mary's "pick up line" about the fice horsemen gets me everytime...that's why I read when nobody's around or they would think I'm crazy from all the laughing!

    Julie why oh why does Revell make us wait a year between your books? That first bit from next years book makes me want to cry! I have the feeling that one's going to be tough to read!

    I don't have a pickup line but the worst one EVER has to be, "Are you from Tennessee 'cause you're the only 10 I see." :-P

    XOXO~ Renee
    steelergirl83(at)gmail(dot)com

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  98. KC ... late doesn't matter, girl, I'm just glad you made it!! And your line?

    Hope flickered with the phone call.

    Absolutely LOVE it!!! Short, poetic and great imagery. I "saw" it the minute I read it. Great job!

    MAIDEN ... first drafts scare us all, trust me!! My first draft made me cry ... and that wasn't a good thing! :) Here's to getting it exactly how you want it and catching an editor's eye!

    RENEE ... you know, my friend, I wonder the very same thing! I actually told them I would deliver a book every six months, but then I had health problems that put me behind, so life doesn't always cooperate with our timelines, does it? I am a little sad that there has been a year and half between the series, but mostly I'm just grateful anybody is willing to publish me at all! :) But thanks for your support, Renee -- you are a real blessing!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  99. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

    The Bible, God, 1384 AD

    Just one question: “Was Chaucer His CP?”

    I know. I'm being too analytical.

    :)

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  100. I've really enjoyed seeing all these first lines. My blog friends are very talented!! :)

    It's 12:58am where I live, so I guess I'm an hour late. :(

    But here's the first line from a WIP I'm working on with my best friend.

    Straight-faced and expressionless, Cameron Cole moved through the mass of people at Saint Katherine’s, as she worried not about herself or the fate that would come later, but about her brother.

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  101. I forgot my e-mail.(just in case I can temporarily claim a different time zone) :)
    bluerose_shelnut(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  102. VINCE!!! See what I mean about you always thinking??? It's the middle of the night, for pity's sake, and where do I find you?? Posting comments on a blog!! Of course where do you find me??? Answering them ... so maybe I think more than I give myself credit for, although I suspect I can lay the blame for late-night surfing on insomnia rather than a deep or brilliant mind. :)

    BLUEROSE!!! Another insomniac in our midst! Tina Radcliffe and Mary Connealy are also famous insomniacs around Seekerville, so you (and I) are in very good company!

    And a WIP you're working on with your best friend??? How cool is that? And what a great start! And since I'm a big fan of brevity in first lines, it might be fun to pare this sentence down to enhance its dramatic effect. I actually do this ALL DAY LONG with my own writing -- write a paragraph, then go back and cut out as many words as I can to streamline and simplify it. See what you think ...

    Your original:

    Straight-faced and expressionless, Cameron Cole moved through the mass of people at Saint Katherine’s, as she worried not about herself or the fate that would come later, but about her brother.

    Revised version:

    Stone-faced, Cameron Cole waded through the sea of people at Saint Katherine’s, not worried about herself or the fate to come, but about her brother.

    Thanks for coming by, sweetie, and YES, you are entered in the contest!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  103. Thanks Julie!

    Thanks for saying you found edits in A Passion Most Pure, as it assures me how difficult it is to stop analyzing!

    debraemarvin (at) yahoo

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  104. Gosh, DEB, you are more than welcome because I sure know how much it helps me when another author tells me the struggles/learning experiences they've had. Somehow it helps me to know that I'm not alone or crazy or just plan lousy at writing.

    Not sure about you, but I tend to be my own worst critic. In fact, I'm sending my finished ms. for A Hope Revealed to my editor today (deadline day,yeah!!!) and to be honest, I like it the least of all five books I've written, just certain it's awful. Well, lo and behold, not only did my sister and crit partner like it the best of all my books, but my husband read it and says it's the best book I've written so far, and this from a man whose read about six books in his life ... five of them mine! He's just not a fiction reader, so the fact that he stayed up very late to read it and read it every moment of his spare time (the TV was actually silent for about 3 days in our house!!), made me realize that often our opinion of ourselves is greatly skewed one way or the other.

    And just one final word of encouragement. A friend of mine in the professional publishing world told me that a certain outstanding author (Christy, Rita, and everything else winner) had to make a massive overhaul on her 6th book. When I heard that, I almost cried because it just proves that no matter how good you are or how many books you sell, revisions and edits are part of the game and we all would do well to get used to them!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  105. GREAT article!!!! Got it this morning in my email. Thanks for the examples and insight. First--and last--lines are the hardest.

    Here's mine from current WIP:

    Kevin Ramsey fixed his gaze on the polished cherry wood casket of a thirty-two-year-old woman who shouldn’t be dead. But murder never asked anyone’s permission.

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  106. STEPH!! Better late than never, right? I am actually taking names till I pick the winner later today, so you're still in time for the contest.

    And I LOVE your first lines below -- it sets up this mystery VERY nicely and hooks the reader in. Good job!!

    Kevin Ramsey fixed his gaze on the polished cherry wood casket of a thirty-two-year-old woman who shouldn’t be dead. But murder never asked anyone’s permission.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  107. this is GREAT stuff! I definitely want to enter BOTH giveaways! My email is
    joanne(at)joannesher(dot)com

    AND the first line(s) of my WIP, Ailing Body, Nourished Soul is (hope three sentences are okay):

    Heavenly Father, my life is way too easy right now. Could you please make it more difficult-- a bit harder to cope with? A financial crisis would help, or maybe a life-threatening illness. You pick, Lord--I trust your judgment.

    ReplyDelete
  108. Thanks for the great commentary and examples. Here is my first line of my contemporary women's fiction:

    People thought Lucy Armstrong's husband Charlie was perfect.


    Thanks so much for the chance to WIN, esp. the critique...Gail Kittleson

    gkittleson@omnitelcom.com

    ReplyDelete
  109. Okay, now that I've read some others' entries, I think I was supposed to send more than my first line, so here are the first few:

    People thought Lucy Armstrong’s husband Charlie was perfect. If only they could see him now, with that vein bulging in his forehead like a raging river and his contorted face flushed brick red. Lucy stared at him as she panted into the kitchen after an extra good workout.
    Gail Kittleson gkittleson@omnitelcom.com

    ReplyDelete
  110. Here's my first line of a YA literary. Feel free to comment!
    themellowmooseatgmaildotcom

    I'd waited for this day for four of my twelve years.

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  111. Thanks for the help. Your revision does sound much better!

    My little boy is the night owl, so I keep him company. :) Of course, when he actually goes to bed early, I usually have insomnia.

    ReplyDelete
  112. LOVED reading about "The Perfect Pickup Line!" Julie, thanks for all your examples. Please throw my name into the proverbial hat for a copy of your book!

    And now here's my first five lines of my current historical romance:

    With each stroke of her paintbrush, Anna Lewis’s heart soared with anticipation. The watercolor painting of Carmel’s white sandy beach and gently rolling Pacific Ocean would surely give her the recognition she sought. The wind blew a lock of hair across her face as she sat on the wood bench next to the lone cypress, her easel before her. She tucked the wispy strand behind her ear, and then dipped her brush into the cerulean blue, adding a few touches to the paper.
    Her thoughts drifted to her life in San Francisco only a few weeks ago.

    Blessings!
    Sherry Kyle
    sherry(at)sherrykyle(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  113. "Taifa stared at the towering water clock, half-convinced it sensed her presence. Was someone watching her?"

    From (unpublished) Majai's Fury, inspirational fantasy.

    valerie at valeriecomer dot com

    ReplyDelete
  114. Great post, Julie! Okay, here's the first line of my book, "The Mother Road" (which comes out in 2012):

    "I cannot get divorced."

    Or should I say, that's the first line unless it gets edited :+}
    Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
  115. oops... forgot email...

    jallee725 [at] hotmail [dot] com

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  116. Hi Jennifer:

    I read a wonderful book by Dorothy Garlock called “Mother Road”. She was doing book signings along Route 66 and I met her in Tulsa.

    Is your book about Route 66? I'm interested. : )


    Vince

    ReplyDelete
  117. JOANNE ... WHOA, I don't think I've ever seen a prayer in the first paragraph of a novel before, but I'll tell you what, you got MY attention!! I am dying to know just why anybody would pray that way!! VERY unique approach ... maybe I need to add it to my list!

    I assume you're going for humor, right? I really like it, but the one thing I would suggest is to make it more down-to-earth because you don't want your heroine to come off too pious or people won't relate to her. See what you think with my suggestions, which loosens the prayer up a wee bit. Either way, you hooked me with the most unique approach I've yet to see, girl, so good for you!

    Original version:

    Heavenly Father, my life is way too easy right now. Could you please make it more difficult-- a bit harder to cope with? A financial crisis would help, or maybe a life-threatening illness. You pick, Lord--I trust your judgment.

    Edited version:

    Okay, God, my life is way too easy right now. Can you throw me a few curves? You know, a flat tire, a head cold, or maybe a paper cut? Give it your best shot -- maybe even a financial crisis or a bad case of acne. You pick, Lord --I trust your judgment.

    GAIL ... Great first line!! I really like it. I sense humorous undertones here, so I assume that's what you're going for? If so, I would toss in a tiny bit more sarcasm, something like what I suggested below. But otherwise, it's a great kick-off for a novel.

    Original version:

    People thought Lucy Armstrong’s husband Charlie was perfect. If only they could see him now, with that vein bulging in his forehead like a raging river and his contorted face flushed brick red. Lucy stared at him as she panted into the kitchen after an extra good workout.

    Edited Version:

    People thought Lucy Armstrong’s husband Charlie was perfect. Yeah, right. If perfect meant rabid. If only they could see him now, with that vein bulging in his forehead like a raging river and his contorted face flushed brick red. Lucy stared at him as she panted into the kitchen after an extra good workout.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  118. Hey Julie being on the West Coast I tend to find things a little later than the rest but I would love a chance at A Hope Undaunted.

    Can't wait to read more about the O'Connors and "see" Katie all grown up (unless of course she followed tomboy tendencies and refused to allow it - LOL)

    Don't have any book first lines but will post one of my poetry first stanzas.

    "Ever Present Father"
    You’ve seen all before I ever encounter it
    You know my choices since the day I was conceived
    ‘Til the day I come home to You for Eternity
    I cannot see the light of hope through the fog of adversity
    Trapped in the deepest darkness of despair
    Yet I want to believe it can only be up from here.


    For those interested the rest of this poem can be read in the archives (May 2009) at Journey of Trust where you'll also find related writings and other poems.

    ReplyDelete
  119. ELISA MARIE ... Good job! You got me curious enough to want to read on with your line. Thanks for stopping by and good luck in the contest!

    I'd waited for this day for four of my twelve years.

    BLUEROSE ... well, honey, if you could see the mountain of revisions I've had to go through on my books, you'd understand why I'm finally getting a clue as to how to revise!!

    Nice job, SHERRY -- you used action to put me smack dab into Carmel. :) Too bad I'm stuck in 90-plus heat in St. Loo!

    With each stroke of her paintbrush, Anna Lewis’s heart soared with anticipation. The watercolor painting of Carmel’s white sandy beach and gently rolling Pacific Ocean would surely give her the recognition she sought. The wind blew a lock of hair across her face as she sat on the wood bench next to the lone cypress, her easel before her. She tucked the wispy strand behind her ear, and then dipped her brush into the cerulean blue, adding a few touches to the paper. Her thoughts drifted to her life in San Francisco only a few weeks ago.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  120. VALERIE ... Ooooh, suspense, I can tell because you did a good job at it! The only suggestion I would make is to try and use words that paint a picture of what you are trying to convey. Here's an example from A Passion Denied where I did that with lots of words that reflected sadness or weeping. Then I added a little of that to your example, so see what you think, okay?

    A Passion Denied:
    Marcy stood at Mrs. Gerson’s kitchen window, in bleak harmony with the rivulets of water that slithered down the pane. It was a slow and steady rain, endless weeping from a gray and dismal sky, and Marcy felt a kinship with it. It showed no signs of letting up, much like the grief in her heart over the loss of her husband. A silent mourning over a spouse who was still very much alive, but whose love was as cold and dead as any corpse.

    Your original version:

    "Taifa stared at the towering water clock, half-convinced it sensed her presence. Was someone watching her?"

    Revised version:

    "Taifa peered up at the looming watertower clock, nerves prickling as if it sensed her presence. Was someone watching her?"

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  121. JENNIFER!!! Soooo good to see you here, my friend!! Cannot WAIT to read The Mother Road!! And I LOVE this first line -- short and sweet and a great hook! Thanks for dropping by, my friend.

    "I cannot get divorced."

    MELISSA!!! Great to see you here, too, girl!! And I LOVE the poem below -- almost like a mini devotional before I dive into my final edits!! Thank you!

    "Ever Present Father"
    You’ve seen all before I ever encounter it
    You know my choices since the day I was conceived
    ‘Til the day I come home to You for Eternity
    I cannot see the light of hope through the fog of adversity
    Trapped in the deepest darkness of despair
    Yet I want to believe it can only be up from here.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  122. Julie, I'm enjoying your revisions on first lines. Hey. You're good!

    ReplyDelete
  123. You're welcome about the poem. And you're more on the ball than me - I left that whole darn comment and then forgot the key to hear if I win the book - my email "DUH" forest_rose [at] yahoo [dot] com

    ReplyDelete
  124. Thanks, DEB, but hey, don't sound so surprised! Not only am I the "Rejection Queen" (45 on APMP), but I am also the "Revision Queen," so God help me if I didn't learn something by now!! But, thanks, sweetie -- it's nice to know I can impress somebody with something ... :)

    MELISSA ... More on the ball then you? Oh, honey, if that's true, then you need serious prayer! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  125. I really enjoyed reading these first lines; now there are so many more books I'd like to read! I'd really love to win one of your books.
    Thanks.
    pmk56(at)sbcglobal(dot)net

    ReplyDelete
  126. Hi Susan:

    I’ve been rereading these posts and I noticed your post about your son’s name being Eric Mason. Tell him happy birthday for me tomorrow! Eric is my favorite male name. I like to use it all the time.

    Vince

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  127. PAM ... Thanks for stopping by, and truly, you cannot go wrong reading any of the books mentioned in this post, most of which are Seeker books.

    Keep in mind that this Seekerville blog started when 15 unpublished contest divas kept butting heads in various contests. Each of our names became real familiar to the others, so Ruth Logan Herne came up with the truly brilliant idea of forming a 15-person blog devoted to writing and getting published. When we started this blog, only one of us was published (Debby Giusti), but now 14 of us are with the last Seeker REALLY close! I say all this to let you know that each of the Seeker books mentioned are written by award-winning authors.

    VINCE ... Rereading posts??? Okay, now I KNOW you think WAY more than I do ... :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  128. Thanks for the post on opening lines. My novel is fantasy, not romance. I've been struggling with my opening and your piece was very timely. I thought I'd post and see what happens.

    It was late afternoon when Donnivus reached the sacred grove surrounding the sandy field of amber stones.
    He knew his human presence might awaken the seeress. He knew the seeress might kidnap him and take him to Blakulla to be sacrificed. He knew he couldn’t return without the amber and risk disappointing his father. Even though his father had commanded the death of all the seeress, even though no one had seen one in several years, even though no one, no one at all, dared to come here for amber, he stepped into the sacred grove. He would not disappoint his father. Not again.

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  129. Hi Julie:

    It’s easy to reread these posts. They are very interesting and it is easy to miss something. You, on the other hand, have been answering about half of them. I think you are doing a lot more thinking than I am. : )

    You mentioned that revisions don’t end just because you have written six books. Well, Liz Fielding just wrote on her blog that her editor wanted her to rewrite most of her latest book, “SOS: Convenient Husband Required", and gave her just two weeks to do it! She’s written over sixty books. She was told to change a major character from being the hero’s ex-girlfriend with a baby to being the hero’s sister with a baby. (Of course after reading this, I had to read the book at once and see how the changers were handled. Liz did a great job. It’s more fun to read a book when you have a special insight! It’s like the old fashion “book with a key” novels.)

    I think an edit like Liz's would be a little like telling you to change Charity into Faith’s cousin from America in “A Passion Most Pure”. Of course, since your book is longer, the editor would probably give you five weeks!

    You see, editors believe that the more experienced you are, the more capable you are of handling extensive revisions. “Hey, you’re a pro, you can do it.” This is what I heard for years as a copywriter. Get used to it. : )

    Vince

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  130. Thanks so much for the comments, Julie. Actually there aren't any humorous undertones...he's a rager, an alcoholic, and Lucy is just beginning to "get it" that it's not her fault. But I love the "If that means rabid." touch, even so. Would it still work, even though the thrust of the book is not humor but self-revelation/empowerment??? It would give Lucy a bit more "smarts" about what's going on, and endear her to the reader more, imho. I'd appreciate hearing what you think about this, and thank again.

    Gail Kittleson gkittleson@omnitelcom.com

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  131. MERRY ... I really like the fantasy feel to this and I'm not even a fantasy reader, but this paragraph intrigued me, so that's really good.

    My only thought is that telling the time of day and where Donnivus is going in the first line feels more like details rather than a one-two punch opening. What if you started with a thought, something like:

    I am a fool. That single thought taunted Donnivus as he crept through the shadows of the sacred grove surrounding the sandy field of amber stones. He knew his human presence might awaken the seeress ...

    Let me know what you think, but if at all possible, you want to gut-punch readers with the first line. I love the rest of it, Merry, so good luck to you!

    VINCE ... you're right! I've been doing a lot more thinking and jawing than you have over this post!! And that's really encouraging (or discouraging?) about Liz Fielding!! Newbie writers like myself just tend to think the veterans sail through unscathed, but this is "life," after all, and nobody gets off scot-free!!

    GAIL ... Absolutely, I think the "rabid" phrase works well even without humor as the thrust. I tend to be very "natural" and "casual" in my approach, meaning I like to use relaxed speech and humor in my dialogue to help readers relate more to the characters, but then I have never written a women's fiction, which I assume this is. So although I don't see anything amiss with putting in a few of the heroine's sarcastic remarks (i.e. "yeah, right"), YOU are the writer and have to feel natural with it. This is YOUR story, so get inside of it and relate thoughts and dialogue like YOU would if you were the character. The bottom line is, you have to be true to yourself in writing, praying about everything, but then following your heart.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  132. Hi sweet friend! I hope I get to see you at the ACFW conference this year!

    I'm getting in on this late, but your awesome post about opening lines made me go back and reevaluate my WIP that my agent will be shopping soon. SO....here for your expert advice/input are the first few lines of "Outlaw Angel"

    Wyoming Territory, 1882

    Angel Ramirez was tired of living alone and sick of being a man. In fact, living a lie these past three years had wearied her beyond measure.

    Hunkered on her belly on top of a bluff, she stared at the herd of grazing cattle in the distance, wishing she’d followed her impulse to get a dog.

    “Talking to myself is just one of the things I’m tired of," she muttered under her breath.

    Accepting the puppy offered by a family making their way west a few months ago would have helped pass the lonely hours out on the range, but it wouldn’t have solved her more urgent problem.

    She couldn’t just change into a dress and announce to her boss that he’d hired a woman.

    ReplyDelete
  133. CHRISTI ... Thanks so much for dropping by to leave a comment. Unfortunately, the winners have already been announced for the contest (it ran Wed. thru Fri.), but I will be happy to tell you what I think of your first line!

    Every week Kate stood on the same front porch, her hand poised inches from the door, willing herself to finally do the unthinkable—walk away without knocking.

    It's GREAT!! You have piqued my interest BIG TIME!! A mystery in the first sentence ... WOW, that's one I didn't put on the list, but I should have. :) Great job!!

    MIRALEE!!!! Oh, girl, it is SO good to see you here, but I am SICK you didn't post sooner because your first line is a KILLER first line and now nobody will see it because the blog is over!

    Angel Ramirez was tired of living alone and sick of being a man.

    I think that may be one of the best first lines I've read for a prairie romance EVER!! What a hook!!

    And, YES, we WILL see each other at ACFW for sure! I am looking forward to giving you a big ole hug, my friend and hearing the latest and greatest in your life.

    Till then ...

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  134. Hi Julie,

    Thanks for responding to my post. I never thought of it as details. I've seen many writers do that, and it did feel flat to me. But then I thought, well they got published.

    Thanks for reminding me we need to be unique and true to ourselves. Trust our instincts. Thanks for the advice!

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  135. MERRY, you said: But then I thought, well they got published.

    You know, I thought the same thing. Originally in the ms. for A Passion Most Pure, I didn't have the action (the first kiss) start until page 7, choosing instead to have SEVEN PAGES of internal monologue (heroine thinking in her head). I saw LOTS of this done in other author's books, including a very popular CBA author whose first THREE CHAPTERS was like this too. It bored me to tears, but I thought if she can do it for three chapters, I can do it for seven pages.

    WRONG!! I got a paid critique at ACFW from a published author who told me to put the action up front. So I did, moving "the kiss" from page 7 to page 5 to page 2 and then finally to the 2nd paragraph of the very first page.

    I guess I'm telling you this because established published authors can get away with stuff that debut authors can NEVER get away with. That first ms. has to shine on every page in order for an editor or agent to sit up and take notice. You only got one chance to win their affection, so you darn well better have a GREAT "pickup line." :)

    Glad I could help.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  136. Julie,

    I wish I'd heard about this blog post sooner and thought to stop by right when I did, but glad you liked my opening line regardless. My WIP isn't under contract yet, but it's a historical romance with a strong "western" theme rather than "prairie" theme. Hoping to find it a home soon.

    I just made the decision a couple of wks ago that I'm attending the conference. SO glad to hear you're coming, too!! Wouldn't be the same without you!

    Hugs,
    Miralee


    MIRALEE!!!! Oh, girl, it is SO good to see you here, but I am SICK you didn't post sooner because your first line is a KILLER first line and now nobody will see it because the blog is over!

    Angel Ramirez was tired of living alone and sick of being a man.

    I think that may be one of the best first lines I've read for a prairie romance EVER!! What a hook!!

    And, YES, we WILL see each other at ACFW for sure! I am looking forward to giving you a big ole hug, my friend and hearing the latest and greatest in your life.

    Till then ...

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  137. Thank you Julie....I think maybe I'm just finding my voice, and MY voice is sometimes quite "Yeah right..." but I haven't been letting that into my dialogue in writing...can I ask if you do critiques professionally?

    Thanks again for the word RABID...smile, and for the time you've taken to communicate with me.

    Gail Kittleson gkittleson@omnitelcom.com

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  138. Hey, GAIL, you are certainly welcome. I'm glad "rabid" works for you ... I kind of like it myself because it evokes a strong picture, but then I'm a drama queen, so whenever I can evoke, I do! :)

    No, I'm sorry, I don't do professional critiques because I can barely keep up with my once-a-month Seeker blog and book deadlines, but another Seeker, Camy Tang, has an editing business, so she'd be a good person to contact. You can reach her at camy(at)camytang(dot)com.

    Also, occasionally I do have giveaway critiques like I did on this blog, so periodically check my website calendar because I always lists giveaways there. And maybe I'll do another critique giveaway for my Seeker blog next month because people seem to like that.

    Thanks again, Gail, and God bless your writing journey.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  139. Jules,
    I've tried sending 4 emails to you to congratulate you on the Carol, but all 4 have come back to my email - so here's my next step.

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!!
    So very, very happy for you. And what GREAT company in that finalist round :-)

    Blessings, and can't wait to celebrate with you in September :-)

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  140. PEPPER!!! Thanks SOOO much, my friend, for the congrats. I'm pretty excited AND pretty shocked. Only bad part about it is I have to go up against Mary and Laura Frantz -- BUMMER!!! Oh, well, it's just an honor to be nominated, right? :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  141. Nope, still won't work. But I'm glad you got my note. I DID receive yours, but when I tried to reply it bounced back. Very weird

    You couldn't be in better company, Julie.

    What a blessing to have such great authors with you! And you are RIGHT THERE WITH THEM!!
    I smile just thinking about the opportunity to do a little happy dance with you. What an honor!!
    Congrats again.

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  142. Thanks Julie.

    Gail Kittleson

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  143. I agree, PEPPER, although Mary has me shaking in my boots ...

    GAIL, you are MOST welcome!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  144. I loved reading this post today! You gave me a lot to think about. I'd love to hear your thoughts on my hook.

    Two years ago, the pause button on Megan's life jammed. If there were a rewind option, she'd wish this day away.

    ReplyDelete
  145. Hey, Steena, better late than never, girl!!

    Two years ago, the pause button on Megan's life jammed. If there were a rewind option, she'd wish this day away.

    Really fun opening, but I wonder if I'm just tired because I had to think really hard about the "pause button, which I think means Megan's life basically stopped dead, stagnet, not going anywhere, right? And if she wished the day away, why would she push the "rewind" to relive it? So I realllly like the the technical terminology, but I think I would adjust it to something like this:

    Two years ago, the pause button on Megan's life jammed. And if there were an erase option, she'd use it.

    Thanks for stopping by, Steena. Love your pic, by the way, with the girl eating a strawberry (I think that's what it is ... like I said, I'm pretty tired right now! :)).

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  146. Faith Oygard (mystery.penny@yahoo.com)August 13, 2010 at 4:14 PM

    Okay, 1st of all LOVE this blog!<3!

    She was gone. Without a trace. It was as if she'd never existed.

    I reckon I always loved Ross.Ever since I wasn't any bigger than a five pound bag of sugar, he was my Ross.

    I wanted to run, to hide, to be anywhere but here.

    I blinked. Marry Mr. Laraheuw? The man was 65 and going on 66! My Pa had to be joshing.

    I never loved the color black. And even if I tolerated it before, I would do so no longer.

    If it wasn't for the fact that he was the local methodist preacher, and the fact that everyone was staring al him. Hugh Conroy could have killed someone he was so mad.

    16 was too young to be a mother. But age didn't stop it from being true.

    Grant's face reddened. He'd done it again. He'd gone and said the wrong thing to a pretty girl. But not just any pretty girl. He'd gone and ruined it with none other than Clarissa McMurray.

    Why did the Boss have to have such a charming daughter? Was it part of the requirement needed to be the head of a huge bank or something? Reed Wilson shook his head, Lila Grey was something alright.

    Sodbuster. Troy Murphey hated labels, and he hated that one more than anything. Specially from a high and mighty rancher such as Nelson Hewitt.

    If she hadn't been wearing a whale bone corset laced three inches too tight, Katy Debois would have punched him. A nobleman? More like a common drunk! The way he was acting and the way Michael leared it was a wonder that society didn't kick him out on his backside.

    <3 <3 <3 Faith

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  147. Loved the pickup lines. Some great ones there that would make me instantly want to continue reading to find out more.

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  148. OMIGOSH, FAITH!!! Someone told me they left a comment here, so I came by and here I see your comment from August!!!!

    Oh, man, those first lines are GREAT -- every single one of them, girl!! Are these first lines to manuscripts you have??? If so, you are something.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  149. WANDA!!! Thanks for coming by and leaving a comment, girl! I hope you win in the contest on 4 the Love of Books!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  150. Very good article ;D
    My first few lines?

    Brooke died.
    It's my fault.
    But I don't care.
    I'm dying in a week anyway.

    ReplyDelete