As a reader, I’ve always loved a story that draws me in with the opening lines. Better still, a story that hooks me at the very first sentence. So as a writer I’ve tried to do that with my own work and give a reader something that makes them want to read on. How can a writer do that?
Well, let’s look at an example. How about a scifi classic?
“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”
All right, all right, so I’m cheating a little. Any scifi fan will know that’s the opening line to Star Wars: A New Hope. And then in roars the music, up scrolls the prologue and a space battle blasts its way onto the screen. How’s that for an opening? Would that hook you? J Technology hasn’t quite got to the point where you can open a digital book and have that kind of prologue greet you (although it’s coming), so a writer has to do it with words.
Some more examples:
“Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that.” A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling.
“This time there would be no witnesses.” Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams.
(BTW if you’re interested, there’s a whole page of opening lines on Wikiquote).
Those are just three of my favorites. The weird thing with all of these is that the author is just stating a fact. And yet by stating that fact they’ve made the reader ask questions. Why would there be any doubt that Marley was dead? Why were Mr. And Mrs. Dursley proud to be normal? And what wouldn’t there be witnesses to?
So my opening line? “In the darkness and the silence, Keir sat with teeth gritted against the pain racking his body.”
I didn’t plan it as a hook. That was how I pictured him the very first time he came into my head. It was the first line I ever wrote and the only one that hasn’t changed since I set it down.
Do you want to know why he’s sitting in the dark? Why he’s in pain? You’ll have to read the book to find out. Oh, and exploding space ships, alien races and the romance come later. Promise.
Keir - a science-fiction romance available from Lyrical Press Inc.
Outcast. Cursed. Dying. Is Keir beyond redemption?
For Keirlan de Corizi--the legendary 'Blue Demon' of Adalucien--death seems the only escape from a world where his discolored skin marks him as an oddity and condemns him to life as a pariah. But salvation comes in an unexpected guise: Tarquin Secker, a young woman who can travel the stars with a wave of her hand.
But Quin has secrets of her own. She's spent eternity searching through space and time with a strange band of companions at her back. Defying her friends' counsel, Quin risks her apparent immortality to save Keir. She offers him sanctuary and a new life on her home world, Lyagnius.
Lyrical Press Inc - http://www.lyricalpress.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=3_32&products_id=513
Amazon.com - http://www.amazon.com/Keir-ebook/dp/B0080E4QIA/ref=cm_rdp_product
Amazon.co.uk - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Keir-ebook/dp/B0080E4QIA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1336420182&sr=8-1
Barnes & Noble - http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/keir-pippa-jay/1110110646
BookStrand - http://www.bookstrand.com/keir
All Romance Ebooks - http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-keir-788806-143.html
A stay-at-home mum of three who spent twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay bases her stories on a lifetime addiction to science-fiction books and films. Somewhere along the line a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. Between torturing her characters, she spends the odd free moments trying to learn guitar, indulging in freestyle street dance and drinking high-caffeine coffee. Although happily settled in historical Colchester in the UK with her husband of 19 years, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.
Twitter: @pippajaygreen http://twitter.com/pippajaygreen
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