Monday, October 5, 2009

The Next Peak

I have my idea.
I have my two main characters, Evie and Josh. I love them and they don't even have life yet.
I have a town and the conflict.

I don't have an opening line.

If I don't have an opening line, I have nothing. My idea is shot without that killer opener, the line that decides the fate of my story. If it's not perfect, it will be passed by.
How many times have you opened a book(after first judging it by its cover, of course)to check out that first line, to hear the voice of the narrator, to see if you can feel the emotion right away? How many times have you put the book down because the first line of the first chapter did not draw you in?

"Once upon a time..."
"It was a dark and stormy night..."
"To be or not to be..."

That, essentially, is the question.

How do you come up with the perfect first line? Do you use dialogue? Do you start with a memory? A dream? Just before the action? In the middle of the action? Do you start at the end?

There are so many questions to ask when coming up with an opening line. And until I have that, how can I move on? How can I create a world for these two characters I already love if I don't know how they begin?

It's driving me crazy!!!

Back to the thinking board...


  1. Hi Julie,

    Just came over to your blog after you signed up to follow mine! Thank you and I look forward to getting to know you!

    I'm in the same position with first lines for my current novel. I haven't started writing it, but I'm trying to find THE perfect scene for an opening. For me it definitely needs to involve action, but also has to be life changing (the inciting incident).

    However, I wouldn't let it stop you from starting. If you can't think of that perfect opener, I'd just start somewhere. I've done that before too, and eventually the perfect first scene comes to me and I go back and rewrite the opening. I've actually never written a perfect opening yet! I always have to go back once I'm in my book to rewrite the opening!

    Good luck!

  2. Hi Julie! I just stumbled across your blog today and I wanted to say Hi and tell you how much I enjoyed your post. I struggle with first lines too, but I think they come later. I think you don't really know the best place to start the story until you've told the whole thing. Then you'll know where the most interesting moment is and find your first line there. Hope the writing goes well and I'm glad I can be a follower of your blog!

  3. Just write the middle or end. The first line will come to you eventually. :)

  4. Thanks for the support. It's great to meet everyone!

  5. I agree with Karen. Don't worry about the first line. It will come. I've rewritten the one for my current WIP at least a dozen times. I imagine I'll write it at least a dozen more.

    Thanks for following me. I look forward to getting to know you.

  6. Julie, I have the exact same problem with character names. I am frozen until I get the right name for each character. It drives me nuts.

    If you have the time you might visit Nathan Bransford's blog. He started a contest Monday Oct 12 for writers submitting their opening paragraphs. A good number of them are YA or MG. Last time I looked he had 900 entries!