Monday, January 20, 2014

I like my opening lines like I like my men - strong & memorable

An opening line in a novel should be better than any pickup line you have ever heard or any one liner joke that tickled your funny bone. In my opinion.
Here's some that struck me.
The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel. —William Gibson, Neuromancer (1984)
Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu. —Ha Jin, Waiting (1999)
It was a pleasure to burn. —Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (1953)
He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad. —Raphael Sabatini, Scaramouche (1921)
All children, except one, grow up – J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan (1902).
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit (1937).

As I've only written a few manuscripts, I've learned from the Georgia Romance Writers that this is an opportunity to grab the reader by the fictional collar. If you can nab them at the first line then they'll keep reading.

I'm someone who admires a jaunty one liner and I've learned to carry them over into my writing. It doesn't matter if it's sexy enough to melt the ink on the page or funny enough to have you wanting a bathroom break, I try for it.

I learned with the first two books that were published that I opened with good scenes but they needed some lightening struck into them. So, upon talking to other authors, I saw that I wasn't putting some of my sense of wit into the first few pages. In hindsight, I was leading you by the hand as I coaxed you into liking my story. Now, I'm grabbing that same hand and just putting the words into your warm palms. I'm slamming it there for you to see that I'm worth your time.

So, in the learning curve that is my life, I redid the opening lines on those books and then ran a few exercises to come up with several lines that would yank me into awareness of a storyline. The results were eye opening. Some people may not get my wicked sense of humor but they got what I was portraying.

The next thing that I did was that when I came up with new plot ideas, I instantly wrote down one or two opening lines that fit the genre, voice, and suspense level of the idea. It carried through where I could then do a small paragraph that I used as a guideline for the tone of the book. It may not work that way for you guys but it helped widen the creative tunnel for me.

So Authors, do you open with a line or paragraph that has your mouths watering? Readers, do you want that first taste to be the bite that makes you fall in love with a writer?
I hope so.

)))Corset Hugs(((

Ginny Lynn
Wench Writer


  1. I like to be pulled in. Harlan Coben's the Woods. Or the book Used I just started last night (wow -it sucked me in). I need to work on this because it creates such a great pace.

  2. I agree, Ali. I really believe in first impressions. Thanks for stopping by. Hugs.

    Ginny Lynn

  3. I love cheesy one liners........ the bar I work's a challenge for the guys to come up with the best one liner and make me smile. That is how my days go, especially with the regulars. so many things we still have in common. I miss you my friend

  4. Deborah, I think you should have a contest at the bar, if allowed. They throw in 25 cents & their best pickup line. The winner each mth gets the money toward a drink.
    And over the last 25 yrs, my wit has sharpened to dangerously hilarious barbs. :-)
    Thanks for stopping by & hugs.

    Ginny Lynn