Tuesday, September 27, 2005

You Had Me At Hello

"Weak first lines greet us like a limp handshake." Donald Maass, Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook

Now we're talking novels, not the first hello from a potential partner... however... I know where your minds go sometimes :-)

A good first line in a novel or short story can draw us in, set a tone, make us feel something that compels us to continue reading the work.

That line draws us in to read the first page, first chapter, and so on. It could be the voice, the grammar (or lack thereof), the descriptors, or the question the first line poses. In my creative writing workshops, I do an exercise on first lines, which proves to be very fun and idea inspiring.

What first lines grabbed you? What books had you at hello? Or if you dare share, what first lines had you the moment you met that special someone?

1 comment:

~^^~L*C~^^~ said...

Awwww! what an awesome post! Hey, can u do me a favor? Send me those exercises on first lines u did in your workshop - I NEED it. my e-mail addy is on my blog profile.

The first paragraph that really "shook" me and kept me reading was not limited to one line. It was in So Far from God by one of my favorite Mexicana-Americana authors, Ana Castillo. I do not remember the exact words, but there was so much action there. It immediately pulled me into the story, whether I wanted to or not.