How my first line came to be

Friday, December 26, 2014

Every first line of a novel is a promise. It’s establishes a contract between the author and the writer about what kind of novel the reader is getting invested in. So much rides on its shoulders. It sets the tone. It lets readers know what sort of narrator they are entering a relationship with. Literally and figuratively, everything begins with the first line. The first line of my novel, THE…


The Agony of The First Line

Thursday, December 25, 2014

How do I hate writing first lines? Let me count the ways! Actually, I even hated coming up with the first line of this very post. But as the other Debs have noted, I know first lines are super important. Critical, in fact. They immediately reveal so much about your characters and their worldview. Which is why, while working on TINY PRETTY THINGS, we had to think four times as…


Guest Author Kathryn Craft on The Evolution of a First Line

Saturday, February 1, 2014

It’s such an honor to welcome Kathryn Craft to the blog today. Her debut novel, THE ART OF FALLING, is the story of a dancer who suffers (but somehow survives) a traumatic, 14-story fall and must find a way to pick herself back up and come back to a life of movement. The Art of Falling offers great fodder for book clubs that enjoy deep discussion: body image, food issues, overcoming rejection,…


First Lines and Falling in Love

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sometimes, you pick up a book and fall immediately, completely, and hopelessly in love: “They say it came first from Africa, carried in the screams of the enslaved; that it was the death bane of the Tainos, uttered just as one world perished and another began; that it was a demon drawn into Creation through the nightmare door that was cracked open in the Antilles.”  Juno Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life…


My “First” Line: 5 Years, Countless Drafts & Thousands of Lines in the Making

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

First lines of books are a lot like debut novels. Just because they come first in a narrative doesn’t mean they were the first written. There are many authors whose “first novels” are actually the second, third, or tenth they ever wrote. And I won’t bother trying to think of how many lines of Chasing the Sun I actually wrote before scribbling what would eventually become the first line. Suffice…


First Lines and Setting a Novel’s Tone

Monday, January 27, 2014

“Miss Jane Neal met her maker in the early morning mist of Thanksgiving Sunday. It was pretty much a surprise all around.” -Louise Penny, Still Life This week’s topic is first lines—our own, or anyone else’s. OK, so technically the example above is of the first two lines, but if you get your hands on the book and read it, you’ll forgive me. Here’s another beginning I love: “A doctor…