First Lines ~ Who's Got A Good One?

First lines kill me. And first lines give me that tickley feeling up and down my spine. First lines make me cry. And roll my eyes. And always - always - they pull me into a book. Or they don't.

I'm one of those readers who cracks open an interesting book in the bookstore and reads the first bit. A good first line will have me immediately closing that book, putting it under my arm and reaching for another. A so-so will have me read a few pages. If a line doesn't grab me, I'm on to the next one.

First lines, I think, set the tone for the book. Create interest in a character or situation, and make the reader ask 'why'. That's a lot to ask for a ten to twenty word span, but it can be done.

This summer has been a crazy one in Kristina Land - my first HarlequinE release (Light My Firelaunched in June, I'm just wrapping up edits on my very first SuperRomance from Harlequin and I've turned in copyedits for my second HQ-E title (and the second in my Rockers series). That book is called Start Me Up and it will release in September. Because I've been writing and polishing and revising and writing some more all summer long (and there is no end in sight - and that is a GOOD THING), I thought it would be fun to have a first line frenzy - in which I show you mine and you show me yours. Because a little tit for tat is good, don't you think?

So, the first line from Start Me Up:

Nina Wright stared across the stately cherry wood desk, dumbfounded.

Okay, there's mine...now show me yours. Give me your first line (Okay, if you must it can be the first paragraph, but remember shorter is better) and tell me - what is it about first lines that grabs you? 

Comments

  1. WIP: Arlie Gallagher turned off the vacuum cleaner and pulled out her ear buds. “What?”

    What grabs me is if the first line creates a need to continue. Like, now I NEED to know what dumbfounds Nina.

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    Replies
    1. that's what grabs me, too, Liz - something that makes you have to read the next sentence and the next.

      And now I need to know who has interrupted Arlie!

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  2. This is mine from the book I'm working on edits with now.

    It wasn't Paralee's first walk through the jail to bail her father out after he was caught gambling, but it didn't get easier.

    Personally, I'm not crazy about it. :P

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    Replies
    1. I like the meaning of it, but my mind sticks on "jail to bail".

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    2. Intriguing, Allison, brings on instant sympathy for Paralee because dad/jail/bad. Hmmm...I'm sticking on jail to bail, too...

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  3. Anonymous10:29 AM

    I can picture Nina, the desk, and the look on her face. I don't know exactly what her conflict is, but it might have something to do with money? Either way, I want to know more. Loved it!

    I write YA fiction. Here is my first line: Ella crouched by the creek and shivered in the wind.

    What a fun blog activity. Thanks for doing this. It's fun to read them all.

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Kristin! Glad you like the activity...things like this always get my brain buzzing. Love yours - want to know why she's by the creek, and because she's crouching I kinda wonder if she's hiding or getting ready to attack. Either way, I'd read on.

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  4. I like something that makes me wonder what comes next--whether it's romantic or suspense. Make me wonder..

    Here's mine from my newest WIP:
    Five years ago I was asked if I loved my country.

    I hope that makes people go, "???"

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    Replies
    1. Oohhhh, Margie, that's good! Brings soldiers to mind, spying maybe. I'd definitely read on!

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    2. Love it! I was instantly hooked.

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  5. I (modestly) think I'm pretty good at first lines...I've won a couple contests with them.
    Here's mine from the untitled WIP:

    The powder blue ’67 Mustang coughed, bucked and came to a grinding halt in the middle of the road.
    “Dammit!” Alannah Murphy glanced to the long, lonely stretch of road ahead and desperately tried the key. “Come on, Mavis. Don’t let me down now.”

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  6. I'm debating between two opening lines for my next contemporary. Here they are:

    The three women stood side by side, arms around each other’s waists, as they watched the coffin being lowered into the ground, one inch at a time.

    Or:
    Nora had been in the fetal position so long her back hurt.

    Which one grabs you? Does either one grab you?

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    Replies
    1. The first one makes me think of strength and makes me pretty sure I'm going to cry soon. :-) As for the second one, I really need to know why Nora's been in the fetal position--soon!

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    2. Nora and the fetal position, although both are really, really strong. Thanks for joining in the fun today.

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    3. fetal position.

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  7. You are one busy lady, Kristina! Congrats on those releases and upcoming releases!! So happy for you.

    Here is my first line from my WIP:
    A sound at the warehouse door brought Cloe Carter’s head up.

    Fun post! Thank you!

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  8. Oooh - menacing sound? curious sound? You make me want to read on! Thanks for visiting, Jennifer!

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  9. Great topic, Kristina! Some wonderful opening lines, ladies!

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