Monday, June 17, 2024

Week #25 – Dracula by Bram Stoker

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 #25 – Dracula by Bram Stoker

First published: May 26, 1897

Here's what the story is about: Dracula is an epistolary novel, told through letters, diary entries, and newspaper articles. Solicitor Jonathan Harker takes a business trip and stays at the castle of a Transylvanian nobleman, Count Dracula, who is a vampire.

First line/paragraph:
(Kept in shorthand.)
3 May. Bistritz.—Left Munich at 8:35 P. M., on 1st May, arriving at Vienna early next morning; should have arrived at 6:46, but train was an hour late. Buda-Pesth seems a wonderful place, from the glimpse which I got of it from the train and the little I could walk through the streets. I feared to go very far from the station, as we had arrived late and would start as near the correct time as possible. The impression I had was that we were leaving the West and entering the East; the most western of splendid bridges over the Danube, which is here of noble width and depth, took us among the traditions of Turkish rule.

Here we have first person POV, a journal entry on May 3 by a man named Jonathan Harker. He is traveling by train from Munich to Vienna and doesn't want to miss his next train which is apparently going to Turkey. We read a little of his opinions of the cities on his journey. Other than a train trip in springtime in Europe, we don't know much about the plot yet.

This story is more than 100 years old and although it starts somewhat “in media res”, it's not hooking me yet.

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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