Since our theme this month is Firsts, I thought I’d write about first lines of books. To me, the first line of a story is like meeting you, the reader, for the very first time. More often than not you will have read the back matter, which may have been written by me, someone else, or a group of marketing professionals. You might have admired the cover, and that tempted you. Covers aren’t usually made by the author, but by a graphic artist. Whatever way it happens, the first line of the story is the first building block for your reading relationship with me, the author. It’s when things get real.
It’s essential that the first line makes you want to keep reading. It needs to spark your curiosity. With any luck, the first line will make you think, OMG! Who? What? Where? Why? I have to know! And you keep reading, turning those pages until the very end.
This holds true whether an author writes historical, inspirational, rom coms, or time travels. The first line should fit the world the author has created and capture the tone of their work.
I write contemporary romance with romantic suspense elements, and I admit to being surprised when I typed the first lines from my series together. They really do fit the tone of my books. Here they are:
Winning this might keep him alive. – Slide Job
Death lingered quietly in the dark, dressed in worn blue jeans. – Beyond the Winner’s Circle
Would he die today, or tomorrow? – Running Three Wide
I would be remiss at this point if I didn’t add the first lines from some of my favorite reads. Here they are in no particular order:
Most people don’t stare at the scars. – Burnt Offerings, Laurell K. Hamilton
Caught in the crosshairs of wind above the Bitterroots, the jump ship fought to find its stream. – Chasing Fire, Nora Roberts
They had betrayed her with a promise of the sea. – My Heart Stood Still, Lynn Kurland
Although in different genres, each first line is tempting. I can’t wait to dig in and find out the rest of the story.
What about you? Do you have a favorite first line?