30 September 2015

First Lines

A big deal gets made about first lines.  They're the hook, the main chance to catch a reader's interest.  With novels, this is more a first paragraph rule than a first line rule, but I thought it would be an interesting exercise to list off the first lines of all my books (including any unpublished partials longer than a single chapter).

This is roughly in the order the stories were initially written, rather than publication, though of course the first lines may have changed considerably since the first draft.

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Jame, scraping unruly brown locks out of his eyes, called Piotr every foul name that he could think of, including the ones the herdsmen called their sheep when they wandered off, but he said them softly, muttering under his breath, because Piotr would do more than call him names if he heard him.

Stairs that circled down and down and down, away from the dim light which was the night sky into a shadowy pit which resounded with echoes born a thousand years past.

A barefoot, smoke-scented girl sat above the River Milk.

"You two are disgusting."

"Nervous, beloved?"

They'd been poking through her gear again.

The Danai.

A lavish display of women.

Arlen EidAren refused to believe that someone could be following her.

"And then what?"

The inn fell sideways.

There was a point where you just had to stop waiting for the prince to ride over the hill, and take matters into your own hands.

Taine held one long-fingered hand against the plasglass and smiled.

The first few weeks in Jorbarra, Teale Rameidin was blithely unaware of the Mage Trap.

"Bloody Snakes."

Sunlight on metal.

Hands gripping her wrists.

After a morning spent sorting through the previous Champion's library, both Soren Armitage and the aide lent her by the Chancellor were so dust-laden that they were beginning to blend into their surroundings.

Looking north, Gentian Calder could make out the shadow of land.

Where the FUCK am I????

April Fool's Day. 

It's one thing to decide to save the universe, another altogether to find a way to go about it.

Wow – feels like forever since I've written.

ShhooTHuMP!

Even ignoring his nightmare predicament, Fallon DeVries would be glad to get back to the Arkathan and away from the ritual of saying goodnight to an idealised statue of his mother and sister. 

"The following students will report to the Vice-Chancellor's office at second bell."

Fifty-seven pence until Sunnesday.

Madeleine Cost's world was a tight, close space, a triangular tube tilted so her head lay lower than her feet. 

Sunlight picked out motes of dust, and burnished mellow wood to match Arianne Seaforth's hair as she strolled through the Southern Nomarch's library. 


There are no real surprises in an MMO.

The longer sentences, of course, tend to give a better idea of the story, but I think my favourite will ever remain "The inn fell sideways."  A most dramatic start indeed.  [The story involves an entire inn (with about 50 occupants) being transported instantly right smack to the centre of the deadly and abandoned land of magic will magic your ass.]

5 comments:

  1. I recognize many of these, but there are loads that I don't! Do you have stories online or published in places that wouldn't have your name on the cover? I've read everything you've got on Amazon, but that's less than half of the first lines you've got listed here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, these include WIPs and partials I'll never finish.

      Delete
  2. Ah. I was really puzzled. Hopefully we will get to read some of your WIPs sometime soon! Your books are comfort reads and rereads for me.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "A barefoot, smoke-scented girl sat above the River Milk." This is the first line of one of my favourite books. :)

    "The inn fell sideways." - Is this a WIP or a published one? So I can hope to read it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's from an unfinished partial. I'm not likely to revisit that one, but anything's possible.

      Delete

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