Happy belated Valentine’s Day! Us readers of romance love Valentine’s Day. I hope you had a good one. Welcome to our birthday bash1
We all pick up romance novels for various reasons. We know the author and have been waiting for book for months, maybe we like the cover, maybe we like the back cover blurb. For various reasons, we buy the books we buy.
For me, I do have favorite authors. I remember back in the day reading Danielle Steele. It didn’t matter what the book was about, I was buying it. Then, after I quit reading her books because I was always sad while reading, I noticed in the store she had a new book out. I’m talking probably ten years after I had stopped reading her books. I decided to take a look.
Twenty minutes later, y’all, I realized I was still in the same spot reading. She sucked me in, again! Which brings me to a fun topic today.
Do first lines matter to you?
I love working on first lines. Here are a few from my novels.
They say fifty is the new thirty. Her Best Catch
How can a simple knock on the door undo nine months of therapy? Summer’s Song
Have you ever wished for an April Fool’s joke? Rich in Love
I made a lot of money when I was beautiful. Rich in Hope
As I stand on Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta waiting for a cab to take me to the airport, I’m reminded of the night I lost my faith. At least that’s what Mama would have called my lapse in judgement. Rich in Faith
I do believe first lines can draw the reader in. First lines are universally known. Pride and Prejudice. Gone with the Wind. Moby Dick. Little Women. I’m stating the novels because I don’t want to get into copyright issues with quoting lines of books. But you see what I’m saying.
One of our Inspy gals, Toni Shiloh, had her Love Inspired book debut in January. I bought a copy to give away. Her book is An Unlikely Proposal. And wouldn’t you know, it has a great first line.
“Let’s get married.”
Ha! There you go. You know you must read that book.
Comment with a book with a great first line. Or let me know if first lines are important to you or not. I’ll randomly choose one of the commenters to win a copy of Toni’s book.
Mary Preston says
First lines are very important, but first pages sell the book to me.
Mary—I agree as my standing in the Walmart testifies to!
Margaret Bunce says
Love good first lines!! I think they are very important. I went hunting for a good one in a recent read.
“As if the flashing lights in her rear view mirror weren’t enough, the trooper turned on the siren, too”.
Heather Gray’s An Informal Introduction.
Wow! What a great first line. I couldn’t sleep last night and plotted a book….and kept rehearsing first lines in my head. I love this one, Heather! Thank you for sharing, Margaret.
A good first line will, at the very least, make me check out a book. An unremarkable first line will not make me less interested in a book.
Ellie—good to know! Thank you.
First lines are very important for me. I’ve found a beautiful first line in ‘Now And Then And Always’ from Melissa Tagg: “It was just a house.”
Marilene—-that is an intriguing first line!! Thank you for sharing.
Lelia (Lucy) Reynolds says
I love first lines that capture my attention. Debby Giusti is great at it.
Lelia—Yes! Debby does have great first lines—and novels as well. She’s a dear friend of mine. What a beautiful lady! Thank you for sharing.
Kathy S says
The blurb on the back is more important to me than the first line. In fact, don’t hate, but I don’t always even notice the first line. But some lines do stand out.
Kathy, Yes, the back blurbs are telling and important as well. Thank you for your input. :)
Lori R says
First lines are important but I am more interested in if the first 3 pages grab my attention.
Lori—I agree in a non-stand out first line wouldn’t prevent me from buying the book. But 3 pages of words I couldn’t relate to might.
Paula Marie says
I like a good first line, but it takes a little more than that to keep me reading!
Paula Marie—Agreed!! Thank for visiting Inpsy–always good to “see’ everyone here!!
Kimberly Rose Johnson says
I don’t think about the first line as a reader. I have to be drawn into the story quickly though. I read Toni’s book and enjoyed it very much. :)
Kimberly—Yes! I’m glad I have a copy to give away. :) Always good to share good books right?
SARAH TAYLOR says
Love first lines, they draw me in I Love reading these books Thank you for sharing! I haven’t read Toni’s book yet but I know it has to be a good one Have a Blessed Day!
Sarah—Have a blessed day, too!
I have to say, I don’t remember first lines. It’s really the first paragraph to first chapter that grabs me. I do remember the hardest book I ever tried to get into, and it took me ten chapters! The second time I read it, it took me ten chapters! That was Frank Perretti’s This Present Darkness. Once I got to Chapter 10, I didn’t want to put the book down!!!
Trudy—I’ve read books that took me a while to get into. I can’t remember any titles right now, but yay for sticking with it. :) Oh, I do remember Rosamund Pilcher–Coming Home. I love her writing and her stories, but this one was slow to start for me, but about half-way, bam!! I couldn’t put the book down. :)
Priscila Perales says
Hi Lindi! Hope you had a great Valentine’s Day :)!
If I’m being honest, I don’t pay too much attention to first lines. Or, better said, I don’t notice them. If it’s an author I already know and enjoy/love, I get sucked in the story right from the beginning. And if it’s a new-to-me author, I’ll give the first few chapters a try to see if the story hooks me (sometimes it takes one, sometimes it takes two or three). With all that being said, however, when authors share first lines (just like you’ve done) I definitely end up intrigued and wanna know more about that book, so Toni Shiloh’s book and your “Summer’s Song” are now on my TBR ;)
Priscilla—As a writer I love coming up with first lines. They’re not always grabbers, I guess, but I’m glad that Toni and I have intrigued you. :) Thank you for sharing!
Lila J Diller says
Yes, Toni’s Shiloh’s had a great first line! That’s the best one I’ve read recently. I also loved most of your first lines, so maybe I need to get the books!
First lines are great, but they don’t make a whole story. I give the book at least the first page to draw me in.
Lila—Thank you for your kind words. It seems, too, that good first lines make for good conversations between readers. :)
I love first lines, but I usually don’t judge a book by its first line.
Hi Angeline! Thanks for visiting Inspy. I’m in agreement with you. :)
I love when a first line can hook me from the start! I have way too many I love to list here, but I’ll give you a couple from books I really enjoyed:
“Meg aimed her feet into the satin shoes and realized two things: you can get a muffin top on your feet, and breaking off an engagement makes your feet fat.”~The Cake List by Dianne J. Wilson
“The grandfather clock downstairs chimed the hour, its clangs all too reminiscent of the funeral bells presiding over Mother’s service just yesterday morning.”~ A Dance in Donegal by Jennifer Deibel
It seems those first lines are important because it’s what draws the reader in from the start and keeps them wanting to turn those pages.
Trixi–Thanks for sharing those great first lines! How creative! I love it when a first line makes me smile.:)
Books over one hundred years old don’t have copyright issues–they’re in the public domain.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
Denise—I did look that up, and thank you for confirming it for me. And a HUGE thank you for posting one of my favorites first lines ever!!!
Alicia Haney says
First lines are very important to me , it is what makes me want to keep reading the book. Thank you for the chance.Have a great rest of the week and stay safe.
Alicia–good to see you here again. :) Have a blessed week. I’m in the southeast so the bad weather has eluded us. I hope everyone has power and stays safe. :)
Deb Galloway says
I honestly can’t remember any first lines. I read the back of a book and reviews to decide of I want to read a book or not. Well, except for the favorite authors that I will read any book they write, of course!
Deb–I’m a big fan of the back blurb as well. :)
Debra J Pruss says
I would not say that I really pay attention to the first line-first chapter yes. I guess I never stopped to think about it before. I am reading Shipped by Angie Hockman for book club. Her first line is “Every time I collect my mail fro the paint-spattered bx in the lobby and see my name printed over and over in black ink, I’m reminded that I’m named after a rock star.” I am not that far into the book.
Debra—That’s a cute first line. I love names, and the reason (if any) that characters are named for a reason, so this sparks interest for me.
I think the value of a first line is in making the reading either intrigued or comfortable enough to keep reading. Like others here, I don’t really remember first lines of the romances I read. I do remember many of the emotions and the responses they call forth: laughter, hope, joy. I think the role of first lines may be different depending on the genre. The relationships that are the heart of romance novels take time to develop. One line won’t cut it. An action thriller, on the other hand, can lean heavily on a single line to get the adrenaline pumping, like, “Oscar Wilson had forty-seven seconds left to live and he didn’t know why.”
I like opening lines that set the tone and show the author’s skill with the language. I don’t like openers that try too hard to be clever or cute. Invite me in, then you can tell me your story.
Lincoln—yes, so true. They can set the tone for the novel. I have read first lines that make me say “Wow” at the skill of the author to draw me in right away with that line.
“Let’s get married.” – That is a FIRST line for sure… :-)
Anke—-For sure!!! Great book as well.
Jessica B. says
I don’t pay much attention to the first line but more so the first chapter as a whole.
Jessica—Thanks for sharing. First chapters are important and hopefully draw you deeper into the first line they’ve written.
Natalya Lakhno says
Betrayal, desertion and thievery all before my first sip of coffee?
Natalya—Girl!!! Thank you. You just made me smile so big. Eden speaks truth, though, right? My girls are dramatic to say the least.
Sonnetta Jones says
First lines are important because it sets the tone for the rest of the book. Before I called you mine by Nicole Deese is one that I liked. Jayne Ann Krentz always have some of my favorites.
Lindi Peterson says
Sonnets, thank you for sharing. ;)
The first few pages are probably more important, but sometimes the first few can grab me.
Lindi Peterson says
Kim. I agree. :)
First lines definitely have the ability to draw me in, but I don’t necessarily remember them later.
Lindi Peterson says
Melynda, first I love how you spell your name. My real name is Belinda. What a comm spelling you have. I don’t remember them always either, but when I see famous ones I know what book they’re from. :)