Saturday, April 16

Ah, the first line...

The opening line of a novel is arguably the most important, and for me, is one of the hardest things to write.
(There, see? That was the opening line to a simple blog post, and you're bored already aren't you? Yeah, I don't blame you... Okay, how about his...)

Lightning cracked across the murky green-gray sky as the waves pounded relentlessly against the...
(Too much, right? Okay, well there's always...)

It was a dark and stormy night... (or in my current case) It was a gray and snowy afternoon...


I don't know why it is, but sometimes I can come up with a stellar opening line with no trouble at all, and other times I think about it for days, weeks even, and still come up with nothing. The worst part is my great lines never match up with my finished books. I have great openings for the books I have yet to write, yet the openings for novels I have finished are just okay. Don't get me wrong, I love the opening to my books in general. I am perfectly happy with the first chapter, and even the first page is great, but the first line is... meh.

For instance, the first line of my ms, Once Upon a Second Chance, is a follows:

'No, no, this can’t be happening. This has to be a dream.'

Yeah, I know... It sort of gets the job done in that you may be interested to know what the problem is, but it's definitely not the wiz-bang it needs to be. I have been working on it and am finally getting somewhere, but the process in general gave me an idea. Why not have a 'First Line' Contest!


Let's see who has the best first line, shall we? I have set up a page-located in the above page bar-that has the rules and it is also where you will post your entries. Your entries can be actual first lines from your manuscripts or just a first line that you came up with that you think would be great. They can be for any genre, funny, serious, scary, romantic, anything as long as they grab our attention and leave us begging for more!

The only rule is that the entry must be entirely of your own creation. (I will research the winning entry to make sure it is original.) You may enter as many times as you like, but all entries must be in by Wednesday the 20th at 5:00central time. Starting Thursday we will all vote on or favorites and the winner will be announced on Monday the 25th! Our winner will receive a five dollar gift card to their choice of either Barnes and Noble or Borders!

So get posting, and show us what you've got!

PS. - While I monitor my blog closely, I can in no way prevent someone from seeing an entry and using it as their own. Just know that this is a risk you take in entering. All I can say is that I hope at as fellow writers, we have enough respect for each other and the craft not to plagiarize form one another. That, plus, if someone actually has to steal a first line, their book is more than likely never going to see a bookstore shelf, so it's probably not something we need to worry too much about.
But all the same, I have to say, post at your own risk.


  1. Oh, I love a good first line! Thanks for the contest.

  2. Fun! Let's see, which one to use?...

  3. I'm considering changing my blog name from rookieriter to rejectiondiva. In celebration of all of my recent rejections, I submit the following two opening lines for your inevitible rejection:

    1) Murderers should be forced to take Sabbatical during the winter months—this is seriously stupid.

    2) I just assumed I’d visit people in their dreams like my mother did.

  4. When you say first line, do you mean first sentence, or first actual line on the page which in my case is two sentences?


  5. Aww! I would never reject you Bethany! :( Besides, you just uped your odds to win as you are the first person to submit more than one line!

    Lola - Two sentences is fine, I guess it's the total thought we are looking for.