clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The First Lines

Is there anything like the nibbling effort one goes through on the first line?

I'd have the usual diatribe here but Mr. William Deitrich has a much better approach on his blog here. He's won a pulitizer so that ought to tell you something right there.

Here's a start I like (now I just need the story):

Crazy Max Maupin sneezed again as the last of twilight drifted past his living room window. The dog at his feet didn't move. He did run to the corner and piss the rug after the gunshots, though. Never again was he worth a damn pheasant hunting not that Max ever walked another field.

I call this the smart-ass opening. The narrator isn't telling you enough. You read though. You read.

What happened? Did they fry Max's brother for some long-wronged love? Was it inheritance? Was it the Clutter case again? Maybe Max was a bagman who skimmed? Maybe Max was just the Western Kansas pain-in-the-ass of whom someone finally had a belly-full.

Anyway, we know Max is dead and that it wasn't of natural causes.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

A wonderful opening that makes readers want to find out more!

Hope your writing is going well...sounds like it is.

jack welling said...

Thanks - I'm getting pretty practiced at these right now. Maybe I should write fifteen or twenty while I'm in the swing and save them for those dreaded conference pitch sessions!

Writing is going well. Hart just emailed me (update on her blog) about a "first 20 page" offer from a writer coming to a book conference I attend. Awfully nice of her and I'm pretty excited to put my first twenty out there!

You run out of people to read the revised first twenty with an innocent eye pretty fast around here. My critique groups run on the "agile" methodology sometimes - and sometimes not.