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Mixed Ink Monday

Oh for inspiration and the time and ability to just sit down and write...

I love it when a story is just "there" and all I need to do it is move my fingers and it writes itself. How fun!

That kind of writing usually begins with a killer first line. And while your first line doesn't have to be the best one ever written, it needs to have a wow factor, a reason for the reader to keep reading. It should be interesting and intriguing. The second line should tempt you to read the third line and that leads tot he fourth...until you are knee deep in the mystery, the romance, the thrill, the scare, whatever, until you can't put the book down.

But there is a disadvantage to making the shock and thrill of the first couple sentences show off like fireworks. Don't you hate it when a read a book that starts with awesomeness, followed by a quieter 2nd line, and even milder 3rd line?

It all falls back to that fantastic, perfect first line. Which leads me to ask, "Why write an amazing firt line just for the sake of having that "wow" first line, if it's going to be followed by a disconnected first paragraph, which is the real beginning of the story?

I've heard is told you can't write the perfect first sentence until you've written the ending of the story.

Because it's not until you completed the story that the characters are all well-rounded and developed, you plot lines have all the wrinkles ironed out, and you know your story like the back of your hand. Once you are to that time, you can write a first line that not only intrigues, but also subtly foreshadows AND begins with something that fits with the story and is totally unique.

So if you are grappling with your first line and think you don't have it perfect, stop fretting and just write. After you've written the ten chapters, go back to that first line and think about how the story has progressed. If you changed it, would it make the beginning better? If not, keep writing.

Your first line is not written in stone. You can change it later.


  1. I never know when that "perfect" sentence is going to come. It's always a surprise, but you're right. It's not set in stone. Thank goodness.

    1. If it were, I don't think anyone would ever read my books. I always change mine during the course of writing:)

  2. I change my first line several times before I'm happy with it.

    1. Me too. Most of the time. Wait. No all the time:)

  3. I do love the idea of not writing the best first line until you write the end. Look at Hinton's THE OUTSIDERS. Perfect example.

  4. The first line, for me, is often the toughest line to write. I usually start somewhere in the middle of what I'm trying to write, get a sense of how I'm going to end it, and then write the first line last. Like you say in your post, once the picture you're painting is developed, you can go back and craft the first line to introduce the reader to your piece.

    Love the title of your post, btw! Be well!

    1. Oh hi, Janette! I'm coming to visit you right now! It's been forever since we talked:) How are you doing???

    2. I just responded to your post on my blog. Thanks for stopping by! I hope you are enjoying your internship and finding it illuminating. :-)

      Enjoy the rest of your week!

    3. Thanks Janette! I love my internship. I've learned so much I can't believe I didn't already know..and I don't mean that in a prideful way! It's just that you never stop learning, huh?

  5. i usually get confused where to start from...what should be my first line...!!


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