A Writer’s First Words

A lot of people need to be grabbed by the first sentence. If they’re not, they’ll chuck the book aside and move on to something else. It’s not my style (and I know plenty of folks who aren’t that way), but I get it.

Some writers know how to nail that first line and grab you right away. Neil Gaiman is one of those. The Graveyard Book opens with “There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.” Beautiful. Others can’t handle it; rarely has the first line in a Stephen King novel grabbed me. He takes a while to warm up. (Thad Beaumont’s explanation about the writing process in The Dark Half about sums it up.)

The opening line for Chrysanthemum Graves, my NaNoWriMo project, is going to be some variant of this:

“What the fuck, man? Put your damn shoes back on!”

I haven’t written it in the actual manuscript document, yet. I’m trying to be good and not actually start until November 1st. But I put it in my notes, and I saved a picture of what I think the place this line is said looks like, because it struck me last night and won’t let go.

How do you feel about your first lines? What’s your favorite? Your most recent? Let us know down below! (And feel free to link to your NaNoWriMo projects, if you like!)

KA Spiral no signature

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