Sunday, October 31, 2010

First Line Love

I recently finished reading Rick Riordan’s The Lost Hero. Aside from really enjoying the book, I was struck by how many awesome first lines he had. The first line of the book was amazing:

                            Even before he got electrocuted, Jason was having a rotten day.

My inner editor immediately stopped to admire that incredible bit of writing. As first lines go, that is made of total win (at least imo).

But it didn’t stop there. Several times throughout the book, I’d turn the page to start a new chapter and got blown away by that chapter’s first line. Here are a few of my favorites.

1. Leo wished the dragon hadn’t landed on the toilets.
2. As soon as Jason saw the house, he knew he was a dead man.
3. Leo’s tour was going great until he learned about the dragon.
4. After a morning of storm spirits, goat men, and flying boyfriends, Piper should’ve been losing her mind.
5. Jason would have died five times on the way to the front door if not for Leo.
6. When Leo saw how well Piper and Hedge were being treated, he was thoroughly offended.
7. The plan went wrong almost immediately.
8. Leo hadn’t felt this jumpy since he’d offered tofu burgers to the werewolves.

Every one of those first lines hooked me immediately, made me salivate for what was coming. It made me think about the first lines in my own WIPs. I probably spend more time on the first line of my book than all the rest of the lines in the book put together (and I still haven’t come anywhere near the awesome examples on this page). But I don’t think I’ve ever spared a thought for the opening lines in the rest of my chapters.

But it’s definitely something I'm going keep in mind from now on :)

What are your favorite first lines? Do you like the first line of your book? What is it? Post them in the comments if you’d like to share :D

Mine is “Minuette reached for the book, using every ounce of self-control she possessed to keep from snatching the thing from Mr. Thompson.”

Hmmm, I think I’ll keep working on it LOL

Don’t forget to head back here tomorrow for a contest of epic and awesome proportions!!!!! Mystery Agent Contest #2 wooohooo! ;-)

Oh, and Happy Halloween!!!


Anonymous said...

Like the pic and the lines.
I love the first paragraphs from 'The Wife's Tale' by Lori Lansen who paints a deliciously vivid picture of the MC. Happy halloween.
Come join my halloween party. all welcome. :O)

Bast said...

I loved THE LOST HERO and the first lines were all great. Rick Riordan really has a talent for that.

I'm with you, Ispend more time on the very first line than on any of the other chapters' first lines. I do however spend time on the last lines of my chapters -- I like to hook the reader that way.

Steena Holmes said...

I know we tend to spend more time on the first chapter than any other, but I never thought that it was the same with the first line - yet it's true! Okay, I'm determined to make every first line of every chapter just as awesome as my first!

Kristal Shaff said...

I love this post. And now my copy of Lost Hero is calling out to me even more. Just gotta finish my other reading first.

Michael said...

Thanks for posting this. I am a huge advocate of grabbing the reader's attention with first lines. It's so important. And you picked a really good example. I did a post about this same subject a few months ago on my blog. I'm glad you're spreading the same word.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Those are fantastic first lines! You're right each one is intriguing and fresh.
One of my favorite book opening lines is from Libyrinth by Pearl North:
The wind howled and the flames roared, but the books, as they died, merely fell silent.

Katrina L. Lantz said...

Awesome post, Michelle! In honor of the LAST DAY to enter the White for Twilight contest, here are some of my favorite first lines:

"I'd never given much thought to how I would die--though I'd had reason enough in the last few months--but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this." -Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

"I was ninety-nine point nine percent sure I was dreaming." -New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

"All our attempts at subterfuge had been in vain." -Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

"I'd had more than my fair share of near-death experiences; it wasn't something you ever really got used to." -Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

Anonymous said...

Wow- too many first lines to think of now; I did some research for a post, too. I will be checking out tomorrow and MAYBE posting if I am brave

Jolene Perry said...

"Somebody really should have told me you can't always get what you want."
That's the first line from the book I'm querying now.
I just did a post on this earlier in the week!
And I LOVE the lines from the book you're reading. I'll be adding that to goodreads... sigh... another trip to the library or another dumping of the change jar ;)

Stina said...

I read in The Fire in Fiction (Donald Maass) that your first and last lines of each chapter should kick ass (okay, he didn't put it quite the same way). ;)

Anonymous said...

I'll have to read that one..
I think there have really only been a few first liners that have stood out to me ... I think one of them was from The Sky is Everywhere.

Theresa Milstein said...

I spend so much time on my own first lines and I'm sure first lines draw me in to buy a book, but I rarely remember them afterwards.

What I like about Riordan in his Percy Jackson series were the comic relief lines. He gave Percy a good sense of humor, which I'm sure boys appreciated.