Monday, July 19, 2010

First lines

I love a great opening line. If it hooks me from the first word and I'll read your book. Make me work to get into it and there is a good chance I won't make it three pages in. There are exceptions, but, in general, that's one of the Rules of Jarrett.*

There is an article on first lines at the Self-Publishing Review website. Here is one that I'd never read but liked enough to share it.

The same, yet more dramatic, applies to the intro of Run Maggie Run by John Ivor, which has been compared to a Dickens tale: A finger of sunshine poked through the grime of courtroom windows, polished the dock’s varnished panels and created a halo for the prisoner, she who was known as Maggie, age nine. The charge was murder.

I'll be honest, that doesn't start well for me. Fingers of sunshine poking through grime has me worried that this is going to be too flowery for me. Then it gets good when we introduce Maggie. I wasn't hooked until the "age nine" part. That's what got me, especially after I read the charge was murder.

* Rules of Jarrett. I just made that up but it's not a bad idea to run with. Expect more of those. So many it may get annoying. Here's a freebie that I may have mentioned before. If I lose interest in a book it's OK to put it down. There is no obligation to finish a book once it's started.

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