Thursday, January 05, 2006

What's in an opening line?

Some are just ho-hum. Others tickle a reader's imagination. There are some, though, that have drawn me in so fast, so completely, that nothing can make me put down the book until I've found out what's going on.

Take Dakota Cassidy's latest Wolf Mates, Moonlight over Manhasset, just out from Changeling Press. Here's the opening three sentences--three paragraphs, really, but they're short: "Okay, so she had a tail./ Big, damn deal./ Well, it became a big deal if it scared off your potential one time boinks -- especially when the moon was full."

Don't know about you, but this tells me the story's going to be funny, and that part of the fun's going to be that the heroine's a werewolf. It reflects Dakota's inimitable voice and lets me know I want to *read* this just as quick as I can.

Other openings predict a story that's has something serious, maybe dangerous, about to happen. I like the way Cheyenne McCray opened Forbidden Magic, her USA Today bestseller from St. Martin. "Silver Ashcroft slipped through night and shadows, heart pounding and rage simmering." Chey's opening with action, but the sort of action that makes the reader's heart beat faster, anticipating...

Some authors enjoy starting books off with dialogue--I've done this myself, such as in BLACK GOLD: FOREVER ENSLAVED, recently released by Ellora's Cave. “You may leave me, my darling, but you will always be mine. My slave, forever enslaved by the love we share.” My intent here was to spotlight Bear, his torn emotions, his dominant nature and his determination to get back his wife who has just left him. Did it work?

I'm interested in knowing what openings you remember--because they're the ones that are really one-sentence/paragraph hooks. Let's talk about them...


Dakota Cassidy said...

Annie? You scared the BEJESUS outta me! one of the girls on my group said--you're on Ann Jacobs blog and I thought, "Oh, hell's bell's, what have I done now?" LOLLOL

THANK YOU for the kind words and doesn't Chey just rule? :) I'm a firm believer in the hook. I love anything snarky or heart pounding. I want to know what I'm in for pronto. I love dialogue to start off a good hook too. I don't much like a long winded explanation to begin with. I like to find the pertinent info out as I read.

Now, don't EVER do that to me again because I will have to have a heart transplant! Ya hear me? LMAO

Thanks, Ann :)

Dakota :)

Sam said...

I love good first lines - I'm a sucker for a hook. But I am incapable of citing a single one, lol.

Cheyenne McCray said...

Wow, Ann, thank you! I popped by and started reading along, going uh-huh, exactly, and then you cited Forbidden Magic. How cool!

I love your first line to FOREVER ENSLAVED. That tells the reader a lot in just that one line.

I'm horrible about remembering first lines like Sam said. But you know 'em when you read 'em!

Thank you!


Kimberly said...

I LOVE a first line. I was just talking about this with an author friend this morning!!! I have to be drawn in right away. You're so right. I was bopping my head just like Chey reading the first line! It's cool to know right off the back what you can look forward to in the writing.

and um...I kind of think you and Chey both rock!

rock on chicas...rock on!