Saturday, April 20, 2013

First sentences (and how to avoid them temporarily)

What is this bird?

First of all, the above bird has nothing to do with my book, except that it exists on earth, as do my characters, though the bird is alive now, and my characters are alive in 1805.  

How is that for a first sentence for a book?  At first I thought it might be good because it sets the time and the place, but a critique partner mentioned it is from the point of view of a narrator.  Since my book is in 1st person, alternating between the protag and the hero, I didn't want to add a third viewpoint from a narrator.

Plus, my sister and I have been arguing about what type of bird it is.  If one has a picture, one ought to have a caption which is not a question.  We've narrowed it down to a sparrow, but we are still arguing over which type of sparrow.  Still, it was easier for me to move forward with my book if I HAD a first sentence, good or bad.  I'd written the first two chapters before I deleted the above picture and that first sentence and began working on a real first sentence.

For days I'd run the first sentence past my co-worker.  She'd shake her head.  I'd change it.  She'd shake her head.  Change.  Shake.  Change.  Shake.

Here is the sentence I think might be the one.  She raised an eyebrow and smiled.

This time when I was almost killed, it wasn't my fault.

What is the time and place of your book, and what is your first line?

Note to thieves:  All first lines appearing on this blog and in the comments section are copyrighted.