Monday, February 26, 2024

Week 9 – The Recovery Agent by Janet Evanovich

Last year on Mondays we had fun with books. This year, we'll look at most of the same books but also some new ones, and see if the first line [or first paragraph] met the goal of a first line which is ==> to hook the reader's attention.

Here are some tips on writing a first line

Week 9 – The Recovery Agent by Janet Evanovich

First published: March 22, 2022

Here's what the story is about: Gabriela Rose is a recovery agent, hired to find lost treasures, stolen heirlooms, or missing assets. She journeys to the jungles of Peru in pursuit of the Ring of Solomon and the lost treasure of Lima. Unfortunately, her ex-husband Rafer has the map, and he’s not about to let Gabriela find the treasure without him.

First line/paragraph:
Gabriela Rose was standing in a small clearing that led to a rope-and-board footbridge. The narrow bridge spanned a gorge that was a hundred feet deep and almost as wide. Rapids roared over enormous boulders at the bottom of the gorge, but Gabriela couldn’t see the river because it was raining buckets and visibility was limited. 

This story starts “in media res” by introducing the main character and setting. Assuming you read the back copy so you had some idea of what the story was about, you now know by this first paragraph that Gabriela Rose is on an adventure and she isn't afraid of much. At first it seems like third person POV, but there are some details about the bottom of the gorge that are described but then it says Gabriela couldn't see the river. I'm not sure the details would be known just by sound, so it might be omniscient POV. But I can definitely picture the setting, and even if the author took some liberties with third person POV, it isn't a distraction, at least not to me.

When I first started as a writer, I was told to never use the “was ___ing” construction without it being a conscious decision. Just use the verb. Here we find it in the first sentence, which my brain auto-corrected to “stood”. But Janet Evanovich can pretty much write anything she wants and people will buy it anyway.

Does this first line/paragraph hook your attention? If you had never heard of this story, would you buy this story in 2024? Knowing the story, would you change the first line? Tell us in the comments!

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