cj Sez: CONGRATULATIONS TO THE DETERMINED MILLIONS!
In Crime … their Facebook site press
That's how many words were reported from participants of our
#SinC50K #NaNoWriMo challenge in
November! Congratulations, everyone!
Let's talk a bit about opening lines, and the importance of a good, inviting
opening line, opening paragraph, or opening chapter.
There’s a lot of advice that says start a story in the
middle of a drama, some captivating situation. This is the hook with which a
writer can snag the reader’s, or agent’s, interest.
Ken Follet, in The Pillars of the
Earth, starts off with “The small boys came early to the hanging.”
Wouldn’t you want to find out more?
One of my personal favorites is from Prison
Letters, Corrie ten Boom’s memoir of her time in a WWII
concentration camp: “From time to time, I wrote short sketches on scraps of
In a 2013 interview with Joe Fassler, Stephen King said: “An
opening line should invite the reader to begin the story.” He goes on to say,
“For me a good opening sentence really begins with voice.” He thinks readers
are drawn to the story because of the voice of the writer.
In the opening-line examples above, I believe you can get a
good sense of the author’s voice, how the rest of the story is going to be
Authors know (for sure) that introductory lines are hard to
write. They also generally change as the writer gets further into the story.
King, himself, said it used to take him months or even years to settle on an
opening line. (I doubt it takes him years now, considering how prolific and
masterful a writer he is.) He also said, “A really bad first line can convince
me not to buy a book—because, god, I’ve got plenty of books already—and an
unappealing style in the first moments is reason enough to scurry off.”
Wow, would I hate that. All those hours and months wasted
because I blew the first line. I try to develop first lines that fit both the
story and the genre.
Here’s my first line for my romantic suspense (ala Jane
Bond-style) Deadly Star:
“I am not going to die; I am not
going to die.”
And for Choosing
Bryn McKay’s body ricocheted off
the passenger door as the pickup, engine roaring, veered from one side of the
Colorado mountain road to the other.
For the untitled detective mystery I’ve just finished:
our dead alive, don’t we?”
Do you start your stories in an active scene? Are you in
narrative voice? Please make sure the opening is not in backstory.
With this year of turmoil coming to a close, I’ve been
thinking of people and places I miss. Coincidences being what they are, someone
posted this question on Facebook: When you think of home, what do you think of?
What I think of is sitting around the kitchen table
harmonizing on old hymns with my sisters and my mother. I
think of childhood-me sleeping with the window open under a warm blanket in the
chill of a starry July night in West Texas. Precious and happy memories.
When you think of home, what do you
Books are Christmas
gifts that keep on giving year-round, and anthologies are even better because
there’s more than one story to read. With that in mind, let me help you out
with a wonderful gift idea: Seven short stories for less than a buck!
HEROES, Bienvenue Press’s upcoming charity anthology for 2020, is available
now for the preorder price of 99 cents! Better hurry, tho. The price goes up on
launch date—December 15. Buy
Better yet, it’s a two-fer: Buy a book and part of the
proceeds benefit the Acadiana Writing Project.
HOMEROOM HEROES joins HOMETOWN HEROES and FINALLY HOME as
the third in a series of anthologies published by Bienvenue Press benefiting
various charities. All are free on Kindle Unlimited.
From paranormal to contemporary to historical, there's
something in all three anthologies to fill everyone with the spirit of the
season. Look for them on Amazon and other fine book sellers.
That’s it for
today’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.
P.S. My stand-alone
suspense novels are out of print on Amazon, but The Haunted Bookshop has signed
copies in stock. TO ORDER my autographed books or any book of your choice
on-line from a favorite, indie bookstore, contact The Haunted Bookshop here: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us
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