Monday, 31 August 2009

Accept a challenge

I set myself a challenge last night. Don't ask me why, but I did. How do you write first lines, asked Ginger, and gave some examples. I said I'd paste some on here and she could get out her red marker pen and tell me what she thought. Whimpers, wrings hands in sudden anxiety attack. Oh, go on then. Anyone. Tell me what you think.

Here goes:

(1) Kellie’d been way too impulsive last night, and she was about to pay for it. No, she decided. He would pay for it. With his balls, if not his life.

(2) Jane looked at the golden liquid, twelve years old with a faint tang of iodine curling into her nose, and decided it was far too good to throw in his face. Bastard. She raised the glass and sipped, savouring the taste on her tongue. “Did Harry not tell you?” she murmured, killing her smile. “He fired you yesterday.”

(3) Unfastening her bikini top, she flung it over her shoulder as she ran, laughing joyously, into the waves. Behind her she heard Ben’s voice, and it took a minute for the words to penetrate her brain. “Bella, no! Shark! SHARK!”

(4) Jess shifted from one foot to the other and looked down. The woman’s hand crept around his waist, climbed and undid one of the buttons. Her hand slid inside, turned, and her long red nails scraped slowly down the skin of his chest. One naked leg twined around his thigh, rubbed up and down. Her body heat swarmed through the thin cotton of his shirt as her hand descended, kept on going down.
Hee hee. That was fun. Next post will be far more serious, and about dialogue.


Ginger Simpson said...

How cool! You want my I'm somebody important. I'm impressed. Well, when you ask, you get!

Love the first one...I would definitely keep turning pages on that one.

Love the third one, and it made me shiver to think about plunging into the water and meeting Jaws!

Number four...Whew! Got a little warm from reading it, but RUE..Resist the urge to explain. Descending is enough it without the "kept on going down." Personal taste, I'm sure someone will disagree. *lol*

For number two...good, but good use a little sharpening. Shorter sentences enhance the tension. If I had created such a brilliant opening *and it is*, I would have written:

Jane contemplated the contents of her glass. A faint tang of iodine curled into her nose. The twelve-year-old, golden liquid was far too good to throw in the bastard's face.
She raised her glass and sipped, savoring the DESCRIBE taste on her tongue. "Did Harry not tell you?" she murmured, killing her smile. "He fired you yesterday."

All in all, YOU DA BOM! These are awesome, and I'd keep on reading. I think you have the hook down pretty darn good, but then I think you already knew that. :)

Jen Black said...

If only I could think up similar openings in my books! I look back at them and I think Boring, boring, boring...
Thanks for looking, Ginger!

Victoria Dixon said...

Hi, Jen! Way to go to both you and Jen. This is a great idea.

Jen, I liked your first hook as is. If you wanted to make it tighter, you could open with: He'd pay. With his balls, if not his life.

Really liked the second as it gives a hint of setting, taste and smell and personality. Not much to add there.

Similar job on the 3rd although I think you can take out joyously. And you might toy with putting her name in earlier and just have "Shark! SHARK!" below. I don't know if it improves it, though.

The last one is nice except that the first sentence is not a hook at all. If you start with "The woman's hand crept around Jess' waist..." I think it'll be tighter.

Very cool idea. I may end up stealing this. ;)

Caroline Storer said...

Openings were great Jen. As an unpub it's something we are all aware of - "hook the reader in". I'm entering the HM&B Presents/Heat competition (closing date is November) and I've been struggling for an opening line that will draw the editors in - and hopefully keep them reading! I've now got one that I hope will work - but that one sentence took me ages to come up with - longer than actually drafting the first chapter - lol. Take care. Caroline x