Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Wednesday's Links to Writing & Marketing Blog Posts

By: Chris Winkle

The perfect opening line embodies the magic of authorial voice, blended with heartfelt experience, stirred with striking prose, shaken with a mysterious essence beyond our comprehension, then poured carefully over ice.

Just kidding. Effective opening lines perform a handful of functions that are surprisingly straightforward. Get to know these functions, and you’ll start recognizing them in famous first lines yourself. Then, you’re only a step away from creating amazing opening lines for your own stories.

1. Suggesting Conflict

You probably already know that conflict keeps the reader entertained, and it’s the main ingredient in an effective story hook. So it should be no surprise that most famous first lines have conflict.

“Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested.” — The Trial by Franz Kafka

While lines like the one above throw the reader right into a conflict, that can make it difficult for writers to set up the story. It’s more common for strong first lines to foreshadow problems on their way.

“Blue Sargent had forgotten how many times she’d been told that she would kill her true love.” — The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Many famous lines also declare that a conflict has already occurred. The narrator might even describe their own death. Readers will expect the writer to tell them more about this event or at least show its repercussions. As fancy as it sounds, it’s just another way of foreshadowing.

“The morning after he killed Eugene Shapiro, Andre Deschenes woke early.” — Undertow by Elizabeth Bear

For a subtler touch, the writer might leave overt foreshadowing out but use symbolism to create an ominous mood.

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” — 1984 by George Orwell

If your opening line mentions a problem of some kind, it probably has conflict.

2. Raising Questions. . .

To read the rest of the post, click here:


If you missed my writing & marketing tweets and retweets yesterday, here they are again:
  • How I Wrote and RE-WROTE Cover Copy for My Novel | The Passive Voice |
  • What Should Authors Expect to Earn? | The Passive Voice |
  • Amazon rep: We won’t reject your review just because you follow an author – TeleRead
  • The Myth of the Everyreader | Jane Friedman "'Everyone' is not a target audience..."
  • Writing is Hard "It doesn’t seem that hard at first.  When you’re caught up in the thrill of creating people..."
  • BookMarketingBuzzBlog: The Signs Of A Good Book Signing
  • Four Functions of Amazing Opening Lines | Mythcreants
  • 5 Questions on Self-Publishing Success, the Interview - The Book Designer
  • 12 TipsThat Help Writers Enhance Memory | Live Write Thrive
  • Five Future Breakthroughs in Forensic Technology | Garry Rodgers
  • Fiction University: Tick--Tick--Tension: Setting the Clock
  • Author, Jody Hedlund: The Critical Importance of Crafting a Strong Opening
  • How To Write A Blockbuster: The 10-Step System [Part 1] | Write to Done
  • How to Get Dreams Out of Your Head [And a Video of Me Wearing Tights] - ProBlogger
  • Why Authors Should Use Video to Promote Their Books - Marketing Tips For Authors
Happy writing and running, Kathy

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