Recently, I started drafting a new contemporary Christian romance book, thus ending a writing break that had lasted several months. The time off provided exactly what I’d needed—a chance to rest my creative muscles and not feel the need to produce. It was a lovely respite, but I knew the time would come that the urge to begin a new story was strong.
A few weeks ago, I sat down to begin again. It felt like getting back on a bike that was stuck in mud and facing uphill! I must have written at least a dozen versions of the opening line. You see, first lines aren’t just a first impression to pull readers into the story, they also help get a writer (at least this writer) excited for the fresh start.
This got me thinking about the first lines I’ve written over the years. I cracked open the covers of my other books for inspiration as I got back on the bike. I thought it would be fun to share a few of these first lines with you.
Not much had changed about Laurel Cove, North Carolina in the ten years since Livy Johnson had last visited.
Someplace Familiar (Laurel Cove Romance Series, Book 1)
The first line from my very first published book, it evokes simple excitement because it not only introduced the heroine coming “home” but also began an introduction to the fictional town that would mean so much to me, and thankfully some faithful readers, over the course of 4 books.
“You have got to be kidding me.”
Spoken by heroine, Quinn McAlister,
in Someone Found (Laurel Cove Romance Series, Book 3)
With this first line, we begin in the middle of the action. What’s more, with the heroine’s reaction to a less than ideal situation, and the reader is immediately along for the ride!
With a name like Gwendolyn Rose Darling Lochs a fairytale romance was surely written in the stars.
Gwen and the Three Dates, novella originally published in
Once Upon a Summer Collection (soon to be released independently)
As a writer, I absolutely adore that this line instantly sets the fairytale tone for the story, but the use of “surely” implies maybe things hadn’t yet worked out that way for our heroine. Keep reading to find out!
These are just a few first lines from my books that inspired me when beginning my current work-in-progress. As I said, several drafts of first lines for this new book just weren’t hitting the mark. If the line didn’t make me want to keep writing, what chance did it have to make a reader what to keep reading?
The book hasn’t yet gone to my editor—there’s A LOT left to write—so changes are of course still possible, but I think I’ve found a first line I’m happy with. Would you like to read it?
Hannah willed the pouring rain to drown out the sound of her name being called repetitively from somewhere in the night behind her.
from Untitled Project
Whether or not it pulls readers in is yet to be known. Several months of writing, editing, and formatting lie ahead of me. But for now, this fresh start has me excited and wanting to write more. So, onwards!
Is there a book you’ve read recently whose first line stands out? Do you prefer books that begin in the middle of the action, identify the setting, or something else?
Here’s to first lines and fresh starts, friends!