Monday, April 22, 2024

Week 17 – The Shining by Stephen King

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 17 –  The Shining by Stephen King

First published: January 28, 1977

Here's what the story is about: Jack Torrance, a struggling writer and recovering alcoholic, accepts a position as the winter caretaker of the Overlook Hotel in the Colorado Rockies. His wife and 5yo son accompany him. Danny possesses "the shining", psychic abilities that allow him to see the hotel's horrific true nature. A winter storm leaves the family snowbound, and the supernatural forces affect Jack's sanity.

First line/paragraph:
Jack Torrance thought: Officious little prick.
Ullman stood five-five, and when he moved, it was with the prissy speed that seems to be the exclusive domain of all small plump men. The part in his hair was exact, and his dark suit was sober but comforting. I am a man you can bring your problems to, that suit said to the paying customer. To the hired help it spoke more curtly: This had better be good, you. There was a red carnation in the lapel, perhaps so that no one on the street would mistake Stuart Ullman for the local undertaker.

This story starts in third person POV and gives us the name of the main character, along with what he's thinking which tells us quite a bit about the type of person he is. Negative, judgmental, definitely not a friendly sort of person. The next paragraph describes the “officious little prick” in a way that not only describes that person, but tells us more about Jack Torrance. Nothing about the plot though, altho because we know it's a Stephen King novel, we're pretty sure the plot will be excellent and terrifying at the same time.

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

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