Friday, March 27, 2009
"When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen." ~First line in The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
I'm reading The Secret Garden to my 8-year-old daughter, Christa. That's a photo of her trying to look disagreeable, like Mary Lennox. Pretty good job, eh?
Before I began reading, I told Christa to pay attention to the opening sentence in the book.
"The first sentence in a book is so important," I said. "Writers need to grab readers' attention right away!"
"Yeah, I know," Christa agreed. "Imagine if a book starts out like this: The mouse is eating some cheese. Chew. Chew. Chew. I'm not reading that book." She proceeded to chomp on some imaginary cheddar.
I had to agree with her. Pretty boring stuff, that.
Writers are told again and again they need to hook their readers from the get-go. It shouldn't be a difficult concept to grasp--even my second-grader caught on to the idea.
Wondering how other authors handled the first line challenge? Check out First Lines. The first lines of books are divided into categories. Your challenge is to name the book given the first line. Maybe perusing other writers' efforts will help you polish the first line of your work in progress.
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