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…


A Contrarian’s Rant About First Line Hooks

Friday, January 31, 2014

I know we’re supposed to hook the reader in the first sentence, but the more I think about it, the more ridiculous it seems. Isn’t that a lot to ask of one measly sentence? Over a decade ago I attended the Maui Writers Retreat, my first-ever workshop. I had some fledgling pages, an idea, and a boatload of nerves. When it came to hooking readers, the instructors talked about hooking…


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…