Thursday, February 23, 2012

First Line Grabber #29

TITLE: The Meter's Always Running
GENRE: Cozy mystery

I knew it was going to be a chart topping bad day when the kid barfed in the back seat of my taxicab.

64 comments:

Sara said...

Yes! I love the voice, and I'm definitely interested to know more about the character!

Milena said...

Yes. I like the voice, too, it's as simple as that.

Katherine Ernst said...

Yes. Love "chart topping bad day" although, should chart topping be hyphenated? I'd say yes. See rule number 4 here: http://www.grammarbook.com/punctuation/hyphens.asp

Nicole said...

Yes. Great voice with the addition of giving the reader setting.

Mary said...

Yes. The line is interesting and makes one naturally wonder about what happens next in this character's day if he's already had a kid puking in his taxi.

Alessa Hinlo said...

Yes. Loved the voice.

Jade @ Chasing Empty Pavements said...

Yes. Simple yet elicits intrique. Great voice in just this one sentence.

JL Dannor said...

Yes. I laughed, which always guarantees I'll read on.

Betsy said...

Yes. Interesting scene and voice conveyed in one sentence! Eager to find out what is going on with both of these characters. Agree with Katherine about the hyphen. It would make it easier to read.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Yes. I want to see what else happens to make it a chart-topping bad day.

Happy Dolphin said...

Yes
The line serves the purpose of forging a connection between reader and narrator because it elicits sympathy and understanding of the predicament.

Alice said...

Yes, already love the character's voice.

KimberlyFDR said...

Yes

I like the set-up of this. I get a feel for the character immediately. One suggestion is I think it should be chart-topping? Otherwise, I like it!

Jean Davis said...

Yes. Great character voice.

Tyson said...

Yes.

It does it's job. But I think there is a way to axe that 'was'. The chart topping bad day started when the kid barfed n the backseat of my taxicab. (that only depends on the next couple lines though.) And of course, my humbles opinion. :) I try to axe I knew, I feel, because they tend to add up.

mfleming said...

Yes, it does what I want it to, gives me action and emotion and a sense of who the story is about. Great job.

S. Kyle Davis said...

No. Though honestly, if I could give a scale rather than a simple yes/no, I'd give it about a 6. The "chart-topping" seems to be a positive image that doesn't really mesh with the rest. If you were going for sarcasm, it doesn't quite read like that to me. I'd go more sarcastic or cut the positive imagery altogether.

Holly Bodger said...

No.

It's really close but the "chart topping bad day" is a little too clunky. Also, "the kid" sounds like we should know who this kid is but we don't. If this is clarified immediately, it's probably fine.

Rick said...

No. "Chart topping bad day" reads funny to me, and I feel like it should be chart-toppingly.

Besides that, a little puke never killed anyone and kids get sick sometimes. This seems overly dramatic to me.

Spiral said...

Yes. Anything that starts so boldly with the word "barf" in the first line is worth reading on.

Jessica Negron said...

Yes.

It sets the tone nicely. I would, however, get rid of "chart topping." It's an odd musical reference in a taxi cab and I stumbled over it. The sentence works even better without it.

A. K. Fotinos-Hoyer said...

Yes! I liked the voice - in particular, I liked the promise of a "chart topping bad day"

Erin said...

Yes. It made me laugh. I'd like to know what else went on to make it such a bad day. However, chart topping as a descriptor brings in a younger voice to me, like a teenager, but I associate taxi drivers with an older set.

Liberty Speidel said...

Yes. This MC has a great voice!

Rachel Menard said...

Yes. Great voice.

Amy said...

Yes.

I was on the fence but I like the voice.

Good luck.

Karen Akins said...

Yes--Fun voice, and with the genre, I'd definitely read on. Cab driver cozy? Yes, please!

SMKrafty said...

No- chart topping seemed cliche-ish and pulled me up short; descriptive no real conflict

Kimberly said...

Yes, great visual and funny.

Feaky Snucker said...

Yes. It tells a bit about the MC, shows either interest in music or pop culture (chart topping), and has something visceral - barf. I'd read on.

rbgreene04 said...

No, I didn't like the modifier "chart topping." It felt forced and turned me off.

Annette said...

Yes. I'm a mom -- barf is always attention grabbing. And I liked the humor in the voice.

Harper K. said...

Yes. A bit of an awkward construction with the "chart topping," but the voice and humor hooked me.

Tara said...

Yes. Great voice, funny setup. As for "chart-topping" (should be hyphenated), I'm OK with it if the MC is a music-phile or something and makes other references like that throughout. But if it's just a one-off and music has nothing to do with the story, I might suggest cutting it or rewording.

Plumbago said...

Yes.

Funny and gives us character and setting. Chart topping is an unusual phrase the way it's used here. It may be hinting at our character--a taxi driving singer? band member?

Larissa said...

No. I'm personally not fond of "I knew" as an opening.

Ru said...

Yes, I liked "chart topping bad day."

Anonymous said...

Yes, it catches my interest with "chart topping bad day" and already gives me a place of setting.

Shakier Anthem said...

Yes. Thought it had a light, funny voice.

Patti said...

Yes, although I did think the chart topping wasn't needed and a little awkward.

DJ said...

Oh yeah! Loved the sarcasm, which shows our taxi driver probably has a sense of humor (driving a taxi can't be an easy job, so a sense of humor is a must), although I agree that "chart-topping" should be hyphenated.

sarahwedgbrow said...

Yes. Gives a good sense of the book with character, voice, setting, etc. I love the word barf. p.s. "chart-topping" is going to divide readers based on taste, but I doubt they'd put the book down because of it.

skywriter said...

Yes! Great voice, promises a fun ride.

Cheryl said...

No. Barf is gross.

Heather said...

Yes.

I was going to say no because "I knew it was going to be a bad day when" is as cliche as it gets, but there was just enough voice there to lead me on.

I also smell barfy cab, now. Thanks.

I'm on the fence about chart-topping. It didn't turn me off in the first read through. It sounded very saracstic and was a part of the narrator voice. If too many readers object, then maybe think about "record-setting" or some other equivalent.

The one thing I worry about is that the kid puking is just the start of a bunch of minor inconveniences we have to wade through to get to the real trouble. If dealing with the barf, though, leads us to the actual problem, then I'll read straight through.

Tamara said...

Yes! LOVE the chart-topping - it's a great way to describe something and gives us the voice straight away.

sbjames said...

Ha. Yes. I love this. I've had a lot of those days.

Susan S said...

Yes.

The voice is clear and engaging, with just enough humor ("chart-topping bad day" and "barfed" are great word choices) and a nice flow.

The narrator wins me over immediately - yes, a kid puking in my taxi would pretty much ruin my day too. The fact that I like this narrator makes me eager to read on.

Wen Baragrey said...

Yes. I didn't like the chart-topping bad day, and I'm not a big fan of barf, but it still worked for me:)

Julia said...

Yes. I don't like the term "chart-topping bad day," but otherwise this is fantastic!

Beth H said...

Yes. Great voice, and an image I can sympathize with.

Steph Su said...

No. But only just slightly no. "Chart-topping" lends itself to the narrator's possible voice, which is nice, but "barfed" conjures up images of little children on a playground trying to make fun of and out-gross one another. Perhaps a different word choice?

Komal said...

Yes! It already gives us a taste of the MC's voice with a little humour. Although, I didn't like the use of, "the kid."

geewiz said...

Yes. I liked "the kid," and would definitely read more to see what's up.

mjb said...

yes. love the voice and the humor, always a grabber for me

Nata ArtistaDonna said...

No.Starting the first sentence with I knew I was...... doesn't work me either...passive

Stephsco said...

Yes. It could benefit from minor reworking, but overall I get the tone.

Danika dinsmore said...

Yes. Sense of forboring, sense of humor, and already a clear voice.

A Little Push said...

No, but I generally don't like books that start with "I knew it was going to be a bad day when..." it sounds too much like a setup.

macaronipants said...

Yes - I liked the humor. Although chart-topping, should probably be chart-toppingly. Which is awkward. I don't know - there's something about that phrase that seems off.

Bron said...

No. I'm not a fan of 'I knew' for a start either. It makes me think this is going to be someone looking back, and I prefer to start in the present rather than with a character telling us things.

Abbe Hoggan said...

No.

I prefer to avoid bodily fluids in the first line.

Jennifer said...

Yes.

I liked the humor and the voice here. Sure, there is a bit of cliche in "chart topping" but I would give this a few more sentences to see where this is going.

Lanette said...

Yes. Great voice.