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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Is that a pick-up line?

Last week, I posted about titles. What kinds of titles attract a reader, what kinds of titles don't. And while I realize tastes vary a great deal, and the handful of responders could not possibly represent a statistically accurate picture of romance readers in general, I learned some things. Thank you to everyone who responded!

Today, I'm exploring the first sentence.

I've seen it written (or posted) that in a bookstore, folks look at covers first. Then check title, author's name and back cover blurbs. If the book has still held their attention, they open the book and take a look at the first few pages.

I know as an author I strive to make that first line do more than set the scene. I want--I need--it to much more than that. And I can spend an entire day getting it just right. Sometimes it'll be dialogue. Most times not. Either way, it has to set the mood of the story--will it be dark and spooky? Sexy and funny? More importantly, that first sentence must raise some important and compelling questions. Questions that will inspire the reader to tuck that book under their arm and head for the cash register.

The results of my efforts:

Being dead has its advantages. (SEX AND THE SINGLE GHOST, Kensington, Sept 2006)

Dead just took on a whole new meaning for nightclub owner Sylvie Durand--a much more literal one. (My current wip, DRESSED TO KILL)

The blast threw Malcolm Forester back close to a hundred feet, slamming him into the stone wall behind him with enough force to kill an average mortal. (SPELLS AND SEDUCTION, Ellora's Cave)

If there was one thing Jane Wilde knew it was that she'd trade her left boob to avoid another pathetic Saturday night at Diana's, swapping complaints about the slim pickin's in the man department. (WET AND WILDE, Ellora's Cave)

"I know, I know, I'm a rotten friend--" (REAL VAMPIRES DON'T DRINK O-NEG, Kensington 2007)

How many books have you purchased just because the first line grabbed you? I'm talking, really stood out? Can you quote your favorites? Writers, want to share your first sentences?

posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:59 AM |


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