Over at Womag Writer's Blog, I found a link to a great recording on the BBC website. It's by Tim Key and is called Suspended Sentence. Basically it is the dos and don'ts of how to write a great first sentence. I won't go into details today as you can hear the recording yourself and I want to wait and maybe do a longer post after I have been to the Woman's Weekly Workshop with Tracy on June 7 where one of the workshops will be on how to create a great first line.
If you don't manage to hear the broadcast, I would like to share with you some of the lovely quotes about first lines. Here are a few:
A first sentence is a tiny taste of what might be in store; t is the pistol shot at the beginning of a sprint race.
Knowing you've written a good first sentence is the moment when the words come together in the right order in the right place.
If you get the first sentence right, you have 95% of your author's job finished.
Finally my favourite from Tim Key - A bad first line is like bad breath!
After listening to the broadcast, I had another look at the first sentence of the story I was writing and realised it did everything it was supposed NOT to do! It was too long, had too much description and contained no action or dialogue - needless to say, it is now changed.
I then had a look at the opening sentences of a small selection of my published stories to see whether a pattern emerged. This is what I found:
Only three days to go and this was the most excited Theresa had been since, well if she was quite honest with herself, she wasn’t sure when.
“You’re always so negative.” Cara said tossing the magazine at her friend.
“What can you see?” Ruby said, peering through the frosting of the door’s glass panel.
“What a tangled mess!”
The word appears slowly.
Val sat on the bar stool and watched her husband at the hob.
“I’m worried about Mum.”
June smoothed out the small, crumpled piece of paper onto the table in front of her with her index finger.
I found it interesting to look back at my stories like this. I had thought that I usually started with speech but in fact found that there was no real pattern to my first lines - it didn't really tell me anything!
I would love you to share any first lines that you've been particularly pleased with.