Monday, September 13, 2010

Finding that first line: Bodie's Men

Every story starts with a first line. For me, that line is crucial - I fumble around with my storytelling until I have the perfect, reel-you-in first line. At least, a first line that reels ME in and keeps me writing. Whether the rest of my tale can live up to that first sentence or not, for me it has to be there to propel the plot forward.

I've written bits and pieces of BODIE'S MEN, my novel about a female Marine lieutenant struggling with a love triangle, taking care of her platoon after coming home from Iraq, and a difficult relationship with her disappointed parents. But it wasn't until today that I came up with that first line, while sweating in spin class and trying to think of something besides my burning thighs, pounding techno and the instructor yelling "And SPRINT! SPRINT! IT SHOULD HURT!"

Why yes, yes it should.

Are you ready?

Despite all the drunken promises we made to always be there for each other, it was days before I found out Josh lost his legs.

I guess I'm ready to write.

What do you need to start a story? A first line, a vision of the ending? 


Summer said...

That's a line that would certainly hook me, though your premise alone does the trick. You seem to have a knack for concepts that intrigue me! If you ever get published, you'll have at least one loyal fan! :)

First lines aren't a big deal to me. I need a solid character before I start anything, and a good understanding of the world, if it's not this one.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Great first line!

My first line often changes in revision -- and so does my first chapter. I almost consider them throwaways, just to get me started.

I know I'm ready to write when that main character becomes so real to me I can almost see her and hear her voice. I can visualize scenes from the story and hear parts of conversations.

That's when I start writing.

Jaydee Morgan said...

Love the first line. I don't worry about the perfect first line until revisions or else I'd never get started. As long as I know the basics of the story I want to tell and where I want to end up, I'm good to go.

Justine Dell said...

Now THAT's a first line! Generally, the first line is what gets stuck in my head. Then the story, and the plot, come after it. But it's always the first line that makes itself known first. At a stop-light. Taking a shower. Eating dinner. Then it's just there! Waiting for me to do something with it.


Kittie Howard said...

I really, really like your opening line and think the potentials are enormous.

Two years ago I sat next to a Marine lieutenant at a benefit. He was in uniform. But in a wheelchair. Both of his legs had been blown off by an IED in Iraq.

I will forever be awed by his courageous spirt, his optimism, his future plans. What an inspiration!

Yes, he left the Corps but is now in law school at a New England ivy league school (a full board from the school).

Donna Hole said...

That's an awesome first line. A lot to live up to in the development. But you know Guin; you have it in you. I believe this totally. You're an awesome writer, and you have superb novel ideas. This hook line proves it.

Three thumbs up Honey.

Personally though; I don't have a "vision" of the end; I write the end. And then work towards it.

My incredible first line is usually written several times over during the course of writing the novel.

I'd like to be much more creative though. I can take lessons from you :)


Lynn Colt said...

Ooh, love the first line! It does so many things at once :)

I usually have to have the first scene in my head, and a couple of turning-point scenes. First lines for me tend to change though!

Ack spin class ... you are braver than I :-P

Jessica Hill said...

Love that first line!

For me, I just have to have a good sense of the character - their personality, motivations, goals, etc. I have to have a character I truly know and care about to start writing the story. said...

The title, the first line and the last line are usually the only parts of the story i do know. I then write the plot, characters, settings etc from these inspirations. if i only I got write the rest of the novel, hmmmmm......

Old Kitty said...

Oh now that is a great first line to open your novel!!! Phew! I really thought you were going to start with "Sprint, sprint, it should hurt!"! LOL!!

So, yay!!!

take care

MissEmy said...

that's an excellent line. I usually have a scene that comes to my mind. Then, from there, I try to figure out how to work that scene into something with depth.

However, that being said, I rarely am able to get past the first page! I'm always erasing and then I just don't bother continuing. :)