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First Sentences

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    There are just too many to respond to all of you guys, so I’ll just say that I liked most of yours. I personally liked the first sentence about Em as it is. As I was going through all of my stories, I realized I suck at first sentences! lol. Actually, I just prefer not to give all the information away at once. (And in non-fiction, I suck at thesis statements).

    Look at the Stars: “My freshman year was hell.”
    Phoenix Academy Prologue: “The darkness fell like shadows behind bright comets of fire.”
    Phoenix Academy: “Alex made her way up the hundred stairs to the entrance of Phoenix Academy.”
    Sleeping With Wolves: “The wolves’ howls pierce the air, giving an eerie echo to the farms and fields of farmers near Valentine, Nebraska.”
    Abstinence from the Eyes of a Slut: “When I was younger, abstinence was never going to be a problem – not in my mind.”
    The Agency–Gwedian: “Her white, waste-length hair flew behind her as her tiny feet hit the grass lawn.”
    The Agency–Drake: “It’s so loud here.”

    I have more, but these are the ones I’ve been working on. And yes, they are all aimed at the YA crowd. For the most part anyway. The Agency books could go either way. One or two of those might be pretty decent. Like Gwedian’s and the prologue for Phoenix Academy.



    I thought this might interest some of y’all: 100 Best Opening Lines: http://www.pantagraph.com/news/article_a125216a-649f-5414-88b5-76a688ea3b6a.html


    Tracy Rohlfing

    @Dawn I don’t think first sentences need to give anything away but I do think they have to grab the reader.

    I dropped the 1st three chapters of my current MS to go straight to the action. I hated to do it but once I really sat down and read it with a critical eye I saw that even though some parts of the 1st three chapters were relevent to my MC’s personality I can weave that in later, maybe in a flashback. Most of it was backstory.

    I didn’t realize how valuable your first sentence/250 words were until I saw a link posted on Nathan Bransfords blog. It was for a contest.


    If all you could submit about your book was the first 250, would your reader (lit agent your querying, editor, publisher, consumer)want more?

    Becuase that’s about how much they read before they’ve decided if they want to continue.

    It pretty much brought to my attention that if you don’t grab your reader in in the first 250 words (the 1st sentence being the most important) they won’t read on ~ you lose them. That first sentece/250 is their 1st impression. And that’s why I chucked my first 3 chapters.

    Also, my favorite 1st sentence of yours is the Sleeping w/ Wolves.
    But I think it would flow better if you left out “fields of farmers near”.
    “The wolves howls pierced the air, giving an eerie echo to the farms of Valentine Nebraska.”
    That’s just me. If it’s not helpful ~ disregaurd. 🙂

    @jessicafriday Awesome info! Thnx for sharing! 😉



    Thanks, Tracy! I love what you did to my sentence! The whole “paragraph” is this:

    “The wolves’ howls pierced the air, giving an eerie echo to the farms of Valentine Nebraska. They seem to be begging for someone, anyone, to listen to their tales. They seem to be calling for you.”

    Also, what I’ve done with this book is put this paragraph and others like it before the new chapters (like some put poems before their chapters or whatever). It doesn’t seem like it has much to do with the book, but I think it gives the reader a hint of what is to come.



    So many great sentences!! Super talented group we have here. My first setence isn’t spectacular, but:

    I feel eyes on me and I shiver.


    Tracy Rohlfing

    I like it! But I wouldn’t use “Seem” too much. I am such a guilty “seem” user myself.


    “The wolves howls pierced the air, giving an eerie echo to the farms of Valentine Nebraska. Their voices begged for someone, anyone, to listen to their tales. They are calling for you.”

    That’s interesting about putting them before chapters. I’ve read a couple books like that. 🙂



    @nazarea – Definitely a feeling of suspense here. Who is looking at her? Why is she afraid? But I’d love to see some more descriptive terms to really draw me into the moment, to get a better visual feel for what is going on. Is her form exposed, or is she hiding? Is this a dark interior, or is it set outside in the daylight (and there’s a stalker lurking in the park where she jogs daily)?


    Tracy Rohlfing

    @nazarea I think @jessica hit the nail on the head.



    @nazarea: agreed. It’s already unnerving. Go for downright creepy.



    Thanks for all the great comments. I’m really glad that first sentence worked so well.

    @nazarea definitely creepy, but I agree that it could be even creepier.



    @shakespeare: I love that opening image but I agree with the others that the question can be cut. What if you opened with a declaritive statement like “Hospitals smell like poison.”?

    First sentences are so much fun to read! Here’s mine…

    “Dear Georgia, I have to pee.”


    Tracy Rohlfing

    @kebrown I like that. It’s a fun but intriguing opening sentence.



    @kebrwon That’s such a lol opening. I love it.



    @kebrown – I’m hooked! I already like your sense of humor. And, since I read a little more of the description on your profile, I’m intrigued to know how this all ties in.



    @kebrown – Definitely enjoyed that opening sentence, and you are right, opening sentences are fun to read, there is a lot of good ones up – really set the tone and make me want to find out more.

    Here’s mine:

    The book ate me.

    It’s short, sweet, and to the point (I hope).

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