Author Topic: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?  (Read 750693 times)

Offline sonofdenis

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #615 on: November 17, 2008, 11:31:19 AM »
I'm struggling for a first line in the first line of my novel Finding Zoe Dawes.  Here's one i'm considering...

“One conclusion I think we can certainly draw from this case, with some certainty, is that peanuts and infidelity often lead to tragic outcomes.  But not always,” said the coroner.

Offline reddsh

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #616 on: November 17, 2008, 04:18:37 PM »
It's subject to change, but my novel currently opens with:

It was three months after her nineteenth birthday when Kaylin Janson finally decided to leave home.  She had contemplated moving out for years, but she never felt that the time was right.  Until now. 
The author gets to choose when the story is finally dead. ~Castledoor

Offline Don

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #617 on: November 17, 2008, 07:22:46 PM »
Sonofdenis -

“One conclusion I think we can certainly draw from this case, with some certainty, is that peanuts and infidelity often lead to tragic outcomes.  But not always,” said the coroner.

Now that is a good opening line.  The 'peanuts and infidelity' link is a keeper.


Redd -

I would get rid of 'She had contemplated moving out for year, but' and leave the rest.  She's only nineteen.  Fifteen months ago, she was a minor.  All minors contemplate leaving but most don't.  If this is going to be your opening line, you might want to play with the wording to get a better hook. 

I have a motto: when in doubt, go for the cheap laugh.

Offline reddsh

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #618 on: November 17, 2008, 08:10:54 PM »
Redd -

I would get rid of 'She had contemplated moving out for year, but' and leave the rest.  She's only nineteen.  Fifteen months ago, she was a minor.  All minors contemplate leaving but most don't.  If this is going to be your opening line, you might want to play with the wording to get a better hook. 



Thanks!  I knew there was something kind of awkward about that.
The author gets to choose when the story is finally dead. ~Castledoor

Lin

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #619 on: November 18, 2008, 04:56:09 AM »
Yes I agree on the above comments.  I haven't been in this thread for some time even though I was the original poster.

I felt it was rather "ordinary"  I have seen this kind of opening line so many times before, you need a hook to hang the publishers on"  I felt it needs something more eg. "get in there and show them a little bit of mystery combined with a strike to the heart"  Change the words around and maybe you got it!

I look forward to reading your book. The character Kaylin Janson you could make Kaylin Janssen to make it sound more interesting.  From that name you can bring in a Norse background and an interesting story, but as you have already written your story then maybe you don't need this.  A name can also bring interest in a hook, that's all Im saying really. 

I'd like to see your story synopsis some time.

OS




Offline reddsh

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #620 on: November 18, 2008, 02:15:17 PM »
Thanks for the encouragement and advice, Orangutansaver!
The author gets to choose when the story is finally dead. ~Castledoor

ROFL

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #621 on: November 18, 2008, 03:10:07 PM »
Quote
Sonofdenis -

One conclusion I think we can certainly draw from this case, with some certainty, is that peanuts and infidelity often lead to tragic outcomes.  But not always,” said the coroner.

Now that is a good opening line.  The 'peanuts and infidelity' link is a keeper.


don86usa

I agree with that. The first line has far too many C words, and not always sounds wishy washy. Keep the good bit.


Rod :D

Offline sonofdenis

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #622 on: November 18, 2008, 04:28:25 PM »
Cheers don8686868...cheers ROFL.  I suppose I have flowered up the essential line.  How about...

"...in conclusion," said the coroner, "peanuts and infidelity often lead to tragic outcomes."

ROFL

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #623 on: November 18, 2008, 06:07:14 PM »
Cheers don8686868...cheers ROFL.  I suppose I have flowered up the essential line.  How about...

"...in conclusion," said the coroner, "peanuts and infidelity often lead to tragic outcomes."


I dunno if you should start a novel with ...in conclusion. Sounds a bit final. I'd leave the coroner until the end of the sentence - preferably start a new sentence with him, like...

"Peanuts and infidelity often lead to tragic outcomes." The coroner took his glasses off and polished them on a sleeve.
"Is that your final word on the matter?" asked Mr Justice Palsover.
"It is, Sir," said the Coroner.



Rod :D

Offline imnotsorry

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #624 on: November 18, 2008, 10:09:03 PM »

I dunno if you should start a novel with ...in conclusion. Sounds a bit final. I'd leave the coroner until the end of the sentence - preferably start a new sentence with him, like...

"Peanuts and infidelity often lead to tragic outcomes." The coroner took his glasses off and polished them on a sleeve.
"Is that your final word on the matter?" asked Mr Justice Palsover.
"It is, Sir," said the Coroner.



Rod :D

Actually, I think your original line was best the way it was. Unless you aren't going for that "wishy-washy" feel. The fact that the coroner uses "certain" twice and then says "not always" gives him character and voice. If it isn't the right one, then change it. But so far, I think the coroner is one of those strange awkward fellows that is really quite brilliant but only comes off as rather bizarre.

And the "In conclusion" beginning is nice. It's unique. And it makes the reader want to know how the hell this wacko reached such an absurd conclusion.


Here's the start of a novel I'm working on:
"   The sun has no shame.  It always shines, even when no one notices it.  It forces its way into the room through the blinds, making shadows like the bars of a cage dart across Sophie’s face.
   She squints to see her new roommate, who has long auburn hair and golden brown eyes.  Her skin is pale and her nose freckled.
   “I’m Tammy,” she reaches out to shake Sophie’s hand."


Let me know what you think. And if you picked up on the metaphor (be honest). Eventually the idea of pride and independence will become central in the book.

ROFL

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #625 on: November 19, 2008, 04:01:51 AM »
Yeah, imnotsorry's probably right. You could just cut it down a little:

“One conclusion I think we can certainly draw from this case," said the coroner, "is that peanuts and infidelity often lead to tragic outcomes."



Rod :D

Offline thatollie

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #626 on: November 19, 2008, 04:06:49 AM »
The sun has no shame.  It always shines, even when no one notices it. It forces its way into the room through the blinds, making shadows like the bars of a cage dart across Sophie’s face.
I'm not sure you need all this.

The sun forced its way through the blinds, making shadow bars across Sophie's face.

She squints to see her new roommate, who has long auburn hair and golden brown eyes.  Her skin is pale and her nose freckled.
This intro to Tammy doesn't feel right to me because Sophie is in bed but she wakes up instantly to squint at her new roommate, how does she even know Tammy is her new roommate?

“I’m Tammy,” she reaches out to shake Sophie’s hand.
And this, Tammy's waiting by her bed to introduce herself, it feels unnatural to me.

The sun forced its way through the blinds, making shadow bars across Sophie's face. Someone shook her, she turned and squinted at them.

"Hi, I'm Tammy, your new roommate."

I'd like to continue this scene a little, if you don't mind.
Never make a decision standing up.

Offline sonofdenis

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #627 on: November 19, 2008, 04:12:30 AM »
Thanks.  The more I think about the more I like the idea of starting a novel with the line ...in conclusion.  We shall see.

Quote
The sun has no shame.  It always shines, even when no one notices it. It forces its way into the room through change to something like penetrates the blinds, making shadows like the bars of a cage dart across Sophie’s face.

Not bad.  Too many uses of 'it' and a little clanky in places.  Is the metaphor 'the sunshine inprisons'.  If so, why?  Interesting, but why?  The sun has no shame is a cracking intro.

ROFL

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #628 on: November 19, 2008, 04:12:41 AM »
Sorry, maybe Im just thick but I didnt pick up on the pride and independance theme you got going somewhere in there.


The sun has no shame.  It always shines, even when no one notices it.  It forces its way into the room through the blinds, making shadows like the bars of a cage dart across Sophie’s face.
   She squints to see her new roommate, who has long auburn hair and golden brown eyes.  Her skin is pale and her nose freckled.  
“I’m Tammy,” she reaches out to shake Sophie’s hand.

I think you need a character description thats more unique to this individual - whats special about her appearance that makes her different from any other auburn haired, freckle nosed girl? The golden brown eyes is a good start.

Also this line is confusing:
“I’m Tammy,” she reaches out to shake Sophie’s hand.
I think you should use the girl, rather than she to make it clear which girl is which.



Rod :D

Offline imnotsorry

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Re: First Liners - Would a publisher want to read more?
« Reply #629 on: November 19, 2008, 08:38:07 AM »
The sun is the metaphor I'm talking about. It always shines, even when something tries to block it or ignore it. If you'd like to see the scene continued, I posted it as CH1-Sorority Girl in this thread. I ended the chapter with:

"And Sophie laughs. Genuinely.
   Abruptly, she claps her hand over her own mouth, as though she is worried that, like sunshine through closed blinds, some light could slip through her fingers."

Also, Sophie isn't waking up. She is just walking into her new dorm for the first time, which becomes rather evident as the scene continues to unfold.  :)

Thanks for responding!