So, what's the verdict -- more First Line Grabbers or thumbs down?
Seems to me, overall, that it was a positive experience. I was impressed with the bluntness-without-insensitivity that went on in the comment boxes. The Round One yeses and nos were particularly sharp and clear in their reasons, pulling no punches.
What I found most fascinating was the way that adding the next two sentences had the power to completely change my perception of the first sentence. Which points to the probability that, while a strong first sentence is definitely important, it's not stand-alone.
I'm sure we all knew that. But it was interesting to watch it in action.
When I explained the First Line Grabber to Mr. A, he smarmily suggested I enter the original first line of my now-shelved MG fantasy. Because he knows how dumb it was, and he delights in quoting it to me whenever he feels so inspired.
You're dying to read it, aren't you?
*Hem.* Here it is:
Yes, that's right. My main character was slipping under the water in the opening scene. I thought it would be catchy to, yanno, jump right into that near-drowning and kick things off.
I can imagine the comments I would have gotten in the First Line Grabber.
NO. This means absolutely nothing to me.
NO. Not only do I hate opening novel with dialogue, I don't even understand this.
NO. Utter nonsense.
NO. We don't even know who's talking or what the heck is going on.
NO. Just no.
NO. Who's your agent again?
After several drafts of clinging to my beloved first line (and even taking out a few vowels and consonants to make it a little shorter), I finally backed up my story a little bit and opened it prior to the moment when Kate falls in the water.
Kate Raddish lived on an island and could not swim, which made her an anomaly from the start.
You may or may not like it, but you've got to admit it's better than the first one.
At any rate, it's water under the bridge, and I think (I hope!) my more recent first lines are stronger. I enjoyed the First Line Grabber and will happily run more of the same if the majority of you would enjoy that. Today's your day to offer direct feedback, so fire away.
Oh, and one more thing. This contest/crit was one of my spur-of-the-moment ideas, and as such it was only announced a few hours before submissions opened, and by the time the subscriber emails went out, submissions had closed. I did, however, tweet about it a lot that morning. So if you are not following me on Twitter, PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO FOLLOW ME NOW: @AUTHORESSANON You will often get announcements on Twitter before you'll see them here.