Writer's Blog (megancrewe) wrote,
Writer's Blog
megancrewe

Beginnings

It seems like a good time to talk about beginnings. New beginnings, and old ones, too.

The words we start a story with are the first one the reader encounters, so not surprisingly I'd bet they're revised more than any other part. Mine certainly change a lot.

Let's compare!

GIVING UP THE GHOST

First opening line:

Right before she died, my sister and I had a pretty crap relationship.

Current opening line:

You would think it’d be easier to get along with a person after they’re dead.


POSSESSING LUCY

First opening line:

The first time I met Penelope, I didn't know I had.

Current opening line:

For a long time, my name belonged to my mother.


THE HALFWAY HERO

First opening line:

On the days when Jarad was just himself, he lived mostly with the animals.

Current opening line:

If Jarad had been given a choice, he wouldn't have picked the rough and battered hillside for the skirmish.


What's most obvious to me, looking this over, is that I'm a character person. They all have people in them, and most are people talking about other people. I like to get the main character(s) out there right from the start. :D

I also try to raise questions to peak the reader's interest. Why did Cass and her sister have a "crap" relationship/why wouldn't it be easy to get along with someone who's dead? How could Lucy not have known she met someone/in what way did her name belong to her mother, and why? Are there days when Jarad is not only himself/why is he involved in a skirmish, and why didn't he get to choose it?

Something I've been thinking about recently is resonance. If I can get my opening line, or at least my opening paragraph, to resonate through the story right to the end, and hint at the problems that will follow the main character throughout, then, well, I think that's pretty cool. ;) That's part of the reason POSSESSING LUCY has it's current opening--the story has a lot to do with belonging, and with owning your own life. Jarad's story is all about making choices and recognizing when you have one. I hadn't thought of it when I wrote the most recent draft of GIVING UP THE GHOST, but I think there's at least a little resonance there, too, in terms getting along with people and the living vs. the dead.


Okay, your turn! What are your (first and/or current) opening lines? What do they say about your writing? What do you try to accomplish with them?

Feel free to just post in your own journal, but comment to let me know you have so I can check 'em out.
Tags: excerpts, halfway hero, in memory of/give up the ghost, novels, plot and structure, possessing lucy, writing
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