Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A New Year, and a Fresh Take on First Lines

Happy 2012!

The New Year feels like a great time to share with you this great resource from Darcy Pattison, OPENING LINES: 12 Ways To Start a Novel.

Darcy has taken the ten major ways you can start your novel and illustrated them with the  “100 Best Lines from Novels,” as chosen by the editors of the American Book Review.  She's also added two additional categories of ways to start that didn't show up in the 100, but are used, often in more innovate formats and graphic novels.

The first line of "Moby Dick" by Herman Melville (the #1 Best Line in the American Book Review's 100) is an    "I AM" opening, where you're meeting a character and the first-person narrator is giving a summary or a judgment about themselves.

The 100 best lines is fascinating reading on its own, but Darcy's breaking it down into categories in this way reveals patterns that are inspirational for writers and illustrators as well.   - How are you going to start to tell the story you want to tell?  Viewpoint on Life, Mid-Action, Set Up, Let's Meet Jack or Jill, I am... (and that's only five of them!)

What I love most about Darcy's article is the challenge built into it: 

Can you take your current first line of your work in progress, and re-work it in ALL twelve of these ways?

What a powerful tool to give us 12 new first lines for our novels!

It's the beginning of a story full of possibility...  and a new year full of possibility as well!

Illustrate and Write On,

p.s.  Darcy will be on faculty at the upcoming #NY12SCBWI, and you can find out more about SCBWI's Winter Conference in New York City, January 27-29, 2012 here.


Anonymous said...

good day everyone all the best have a gud new year

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

I just have to share that I'm often asked if being on twitter is worth the effort. Well, I tweeted a link to this post, and Ellen Hopkins
(on twitter as @EllenHopkinsYA) tweeted me back, including the first line of the new book she's writing now. Scooping the world on her next New York Times best-seller? That was super-cool!

Enjoy working on your first lines,

LeAnne Hardy said...

Excellent suggestion to try all these with my WIP. Very stimulating.

LeAnne Hardy said...

Very stimulating to try this with my current work in progress.

Miranda Paul said...

Oh thank you for sharing this link! I've often thought about the different types of openings, but never settled on vocabulary. I will try this! Thanks, Lee.