The Importance of the First Sentence

I’ll be the first to admit that I almost never read the first sentence of a story. Seriously. Most of them are so pointless (and none of them will ever compare to the first line of my favorite book) that I just breeze past it.

I was reminded of this as I tried to start my NaNovel yesterday. At one point in time, I did actually have that sentence planned in my head, but I forgot it. So I stared at the screen for several minutes before I finally got something typed out. (The line, “It’s only a first draft,” come to mind…)

This morning, I read an article, one in a series on the front page, that addressed the first line itself. One day late doesn’t really hurt, I suppose. In the end, it really does come down to preciseness of language, but there are people (not me) who will put a book down after that first line if it doesn’t draw them in.

Just something to keep in the back of one’s mind when one is editing…


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