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How About This?

11 August, 2013

I posted the other day about my struggle with an opening line for my new WIP. Well I have thought alot about it since and i think i have an opening. It’s not a first line as such, as it is using the convention you often get in films where it gives a glimpse at the point of the end conflict before properly starting at the beginning (thus giving you a clue as to where it is all headed). And it’s not a prologue really because it is only a few sentences. But in the centre of the first page, in italic font, I am imagining this opening:

 

There is only one way to end this. I have considered every alternative, I have imagined my actions, I have even talked myself through the results, and every time I reach the same answer.

Somebody has to die.

And that somebody is me.

 

This hints at the conflict which will need resolving at the end, but also cheekily diverts and misinforms the reader away from what will really happen. It gives one impression but once you reach the end and then read it again, you will see another meaning. But all that is for another day, and i can’t really say much without spoiling. Also, this first sentence means changing the whole thing to first person which I hadn’t considered before. So that raises another whole issue.

 

But for now, my dear followers and fellow bloggers, does this sound like a decent opening? Does it draw you in or does it make you want to put it back on the shelf and buy something else instead? I am curious to hear your opinion…

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From → Writing

23 Comments
  1. I need to know what happened and what’s going to happen; this definitely pulls me right in making me need to know; in other words if I was in a bookstore and read only this I would buy it….as far as the first person problem, without knowing anything else, is there any way you can do both? Like maybe have a little first person in italics thing periodically. ..like between chapters or sections or something? I really love what you wrote here as a beginning but it might be a nightmare changing everything to first person…whatever you decide to do, count me in when it comes time to pre-order, because I need to know the story!!! πŸ˜€

    • i like the idea of an italic “interlude” every chapter or so, creating a kind of parallel narrative which will eventually dovetail into the main plot. Or something. And the first persons will not always be the same character, but that will not be obvious to the reader at first. Maybe i’m trying to be a bit too clever with that though.

  2. Or maybe you can begin with this part as either inner dialog or something written by the character like a journal or a letter to either someone else or to himself…I’m sorry, I’m thinking about this way too much aren’t I πŸ˜€

  3. It gives a good hook and I would flip to the next page to see if the first chapter was just as good. I think it can help to know where a book is heading but at the same time I would (i’m just being honest) feel a bit hesitant to read and get attached to this character that i knew at some point was going to probably die…I guess for me it would depend on how catching the first chapter was πŸ™‚

    • Thanks for your feedback, it really is appreciated. My worry is that the suggestion of suicide/death is too much for the start, and your reaction suggests that worry is justified but the story is not intended to be dark.
      In a way i am cheating i suppose and having two opening lines – this more forceful line and then a gentler opening to the first chapter proper. I’ll share that when i have it, an a chunk of chapter one. hopefully it will be worth reading πŸ™‚

      • I look forward to reading the first chapter, if it’s softer then you can get away with that opening, thou it is a bit of a risk πŸ™‚ It’s just so good a hook πŸ™‚

      • grrrr WP put you in my spam folder again 😦
        I know what you mean, I’m pleased with this as an opening line but i don’t want to scare people off.

      • hmm it keeps doing that to me 😦 not sure why 😦 good luck with your WIP, is it a long novel do you think or a short novella? Oh is it a series? Sorry for so many questions think i’m bit tired lol

      • questions are fine, they make me think!
        I’m intending it to be a stand-alone novel but that may change as i get further in…

      • I’m not very good at editing myself but if you want anther set of eyes I would be happy to give my views, i only offer because I know how helpful it has been for me to get similar help from a few people for my WIP (plz don’t think it means i think you need my help or anything 😦 just want to help if i can)

      • thank you for the offer and i know it is made in a genuinely supportive way πŸ™‚
        I am a way off having even MY eyes reading it yet never mind anyone elses! but i will keep your offer in mind for when i have something written

      • πŸ™‚ yes it can take a while before its written and then i often find much work to do when i read back through. good luck with your writing πŸ™‚

      • hello my favourite spammer πŸ˜‰
        isn’t it surprising how a draft seems perfect at the time but on the next reading it needs soooo much work done!

      • I don’t write with much of a plan if any so the reworking process can take longer. do you plan?

      • i tend to get to know the central character before i start, and i know the opening, the rough plot, and the conflict/resolution i am aiming towards but the rest only comes together while i am writing it.

      • I mostly write blind, so lots of tidying to do once I stop my flow πŸ™‚

  4. Morbid Insanity permalink

    “Somebody has to die. And that somebody is me.”
    Why?! > the first thing that came to my mind.

    This whetted my curiosity and, of course, I’d want to read more. ^_^

    • “Why” is the reaction i was hoping for. And you won’t find out for sure for another 60-70k words, but hopefully that question will be in the reader’s mind as they try to predict how that quote will come into the story

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