Casting a Spell With the First Line

I was invited to write a guest post at All the Way YA, just in time for Halloween.

All The Way YA

I spend a ridiculous amount of time Googling the best first lines in books. I study each one in the hope that I will absorb something, anything, that will allow me to spit out some synthesis of my voice and their brilliance in my own first lines.

In the book, Wired for Story (the best book I’ve ever read on writing), Lisa Cron says, “What intoxicates us is the hint that not only is trouble brewing…it’s about to reach critical mass. This means that from the first sentence we need to catch sight of the breadcrumb trail that will lure us deeper into the thicket.” Amen, Sister.

But it has to be more than that. Stephen King says “With really good books, a powerful sense of voice is established in the first line.”

Boromir first line

Very easy to say. But how do you write the elusive, perfect first line? First of…

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2 comments on “Casting a Spell With the First Line

  1. I always love your posts–so relevant to any writer at any stage in the process. And so coherently laid out.

    I keep mulling over the elusive first line for my fictional story. It’s as if I can’t write any of the story until I get that line down–at least it has to be close. ARG! It’s my way of postponing the project I think. I should just put something down and go back to it. But I have this belief that the perfect line will open the floodgates of creative genius. It will indeed set the tone and pace for the rest of the book.

    I’m putting a lot of pressure on that first line!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, like Stephen King said. He perfects his opening line before he begins a book. It’s something to strive for.


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