1. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    First lines of your books

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Duchess-Yukine-Suoh, Jun 20, 2014.

    The first thing you must understand is that I am simply awful, and a bit crazy.

    "You mean to say you've never even heard of The Dark Side?"

    Jason peeked out from under his bangs to catch a glimpse out of the bus window.
     
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  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Are you asking us to post our first lines?

    “Scientist Brin will save her people. Then all the kids will wish they weren’t mean to her. When they ask to be her friend she’ll say, yes.” I watched another satellite cross the rings. That was the third one tonight. I wondered if it went through the ice and dust or if it passed inside the rings’ orbits. “Brin the engineer needs to build a telescope.”​
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014
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  3. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not mine:

    "But Jesus, I counted three sets of footprints."
    Jesus' eyes narrowed as he drew his pistol. "Son of a bitch found us."

    - someone's NaNoWriMo

    "The building was on fire, and it wasn't my fault."

    - Blood Rites (The Dresden Files #6)

    Two of the greatest openings ever written.
     
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  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    "It started with the washing machine."
     
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  5. Mike Kobernus
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    Mike Kobernus Contributing Member

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    Here are the first lines from a couple of my novels. The first comes from an urban fantasy novel, the second from a post apocalyptic.

    "The naked woman with hair like a cascade of spun copper caressed the young man’s face gently, her fingers light against his skin, the knife pressing into his neck held firm."

    "The two burly guards escorted the young woman between them. She did not make a fuss."
     
  6. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    My opening line is currently under review. I was happy enough, I guess, but wasn't getting enough of a consensus.

    Could. Do. Better. :D
     
  7. Bwater
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    Bwater Member

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    The situation that had led to this point was still hazy.

    Situation.

    Laughable.

    It wasn't a situation, that would imply some misfortune or excitement. It was no more than a series of events, brought on by my actions and lack of.

    But nevertheless, here I now sit, shitting away last nights pitiful meal, on a piss soaked seat in a grubby public toilet.
     
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  8. FallenShandeh
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    FallenShandeh Member

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    The girl knew she was beautiful. She didn’t know she was about to die.

    Bane stalked her silently, just far enough behind that she would suspect nothing. He was dressed in black from head to toe, hood pulled low to hide his bright platinum hair, and a thick layer of black mud on his face obscured his luminescent tattoo.
     
  9. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Beautiful.

    I recommend making this the first line and rewording it slightly:

    Here I sit on a pissed-on public toilet seat, shitting away last night's "meal".

    I am even picturing a specific toilet:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014
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  10. Bwater
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    Bwater Member

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    Funny enough that's exactly the kind of cubicle I was using when inspiration hit.
    The thing is the toilets really not important to the story, it's just where he is whereas the 'situation' is more important. I suppose I could mention the toilet and then repeat the toilet element as a summing up of the opening paragraph
     
  11. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    “Kevin?”

    My mother called out to the small patio where I had been stewing for the past few hours. Her determined cheeriness was not what I needed at the moment.

    “Kevin, are you here?”

    No. Dad hit the trifecta and brought me back home, back to a real house. Wanna join us?

    I almost said it.
     
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  12. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    The reason I recommend putting that line first is because it is a concise, vivid mental image written in an active and direct voice. It does so many things in so few words: it establishes the scene (public toilet), it sets the mood (hangover or something similar), and it hints at a recent event that is relevant to the story (last night's meal). Another thing I like about it is that it does not drop the reader straight into the action, so it avoids the problems that come with that kind of opening, but it nonetheless immediately invites the reader into a specific mental place that can be visually constructed in the imagination and identified as a self-contained place that is separate from the rest of the mind.

    On second thought, remove the word "public". If it is "a toilet" rather than "my toilet" or "the toilet", and if it there is piss on the seat, then it can be inferred that it is public. Rewrite it as:

    Here I sit on a pissed-on toilet seat, shitting away last night's "meal".

    This:
    does not do much of anything for me, and it falls into the cliché of trying to be too vague and too abstract about the situation.
     
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  13. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I’d seen men asleep, and I’d witnessed my share of soldiers, unconscious and dying. For some reason I recognized the young enchantress lying before me hung somewhere in between.

    From Soul Forge, soon to be released.
     
  14. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    A crow cawed. (From my post-apocalyptic manuscript)


    "Mummy, what does Erthe mean?" Timothy Twist asked. (From my adult fantasy manuscript)


    In a small creaking house on Rainbow Street, there was a painter who liked to paint (From my children's manuscript)


    "Mummy!" (From my manuscript which deals with a child having cancer)
     
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  15. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have to rework my first chapter, but this sentence might stay:

    As Tommy Tocker paused to wipe the sticky sweat from his dust-caked brow, he was reminded that his pocket watch had something to say every second, and the people he was digging holes for would never speak again. Lovely.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014
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  16. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    For similar reasons that @daemon noted above, I would modify your sentence like this. ^

    It took me a minute to understand your sentence and once I did, I saw it was the filter words that had been in my way.
     
  17. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I like it. But if I may, I would suggest you make some minor changes.

    As Tommy Tocker paused to wipe the sticky sweat from his dust-caked brow. He [thought about] his pocket watch that had something to say every second. The people he was digging holes for would never speak again. Lovely.​
     
  18. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    It's terrible but I can't help wanting to critique things I read. I changed my own opening above. I had struggled with the voice not sounding the right age. Taking out "I said" helped, plus it wasn't needed.

    My apologies if I critiqued anything an author did not want critiqued.

    @EdFromNY: Putting that thought in italics would add clarity sooner. :whistle: ;)
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014
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  19. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Oh, no you don't! I'm not getting dragged into that war again! :eek::dead:

    (although if you're serious, PM me)
     
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  20. FallenShandeh
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    FallenShandeh Member

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    Not the opening line of the book itself but a chapter starter.

    She told herself it was nothing she couldn't handle, but the truth was, she was in over her head. Blood oozed slowly from a nasty scrape on her face, the result of Fang slamming into a rough-hewn stone wall, and pain seared up her right leg every time she put any weight on it. It was a miracle she had survived this long.

    White Fang kept her eyes squeezed shut in a petulant refusal to see her attacker. The enormous pair of hands took hold of her shoulders and shoved her back against the wall again. The back of her head met the stone with a sickening crack.

    Dazed, she stopped fighting.
     
  21. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    GingerCoffee,
    First lines taken out of context, I guess. Although I appreciate your critical reading and commentary, the beginning of the novel has made it through a crit group, beta readers, my publisher and editor, so I think I'll run with it as is. :)
     
  22. Renee J
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    Renee J Contributing Member

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    I'm still playing around with mine:

    Jacob cursed the day his ex-wife walked back into their lives.
     
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  23. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    “Get. Off. Me. Sal!” I shout as loud as I can.
    (from my first fiction)

    Doctor Olga Peplinski closed the file that was laid out on her kidney shaped, leather topped desk and leant forward to rest her arms over the papers.
    (from current WIP although this could very well change before publication)
     
  24. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I know the whole period-after-each-word thing is the current rage, most likely a product of text-speak. But it is not grammatically correct. It should be, "Get off me, Sal!" or, if you really need to stretch the words out, like the character is having trouble breathing because Sal is sitting on the speaker's chest, "Get...off...me...Sal!"
     
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  25. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    If you are using elipses', technically it would be:

    "Get ... off ... me ... Sal!"

    However, I did it the way I did because I wanted each word to be read like four individual sentences which is how most readers would read it.

    I would rather my readers read what I write without questioning the technicality of whether the sentence is grammatically correct or not. In research that I carried out, the sentence structure I used gained the desired effect with more readers than any other structure.
     
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