Tuesday, April 15, 2014

First Line Grabber Round 2 #15

TITLE: The Thing About Sam
GENRE: NA Contemporary

We met like any other couple—at a narcotics anonymous meeting in downtown Chicago.

It was my cousin Jon’s birthday, and because our group of friends constantly referred to me as the world’s worst gift giver, I’d decided to utilize the revolutionary technique of just asking him what he wanted. I didn’t know what technique he’d been using when he said, “I want you to come to a narcotics anonymous meeting with me tomorrow night.”


  1. I like most of this entry. The voice is authentic and funny in a sarcastic way. But I don't know what this means:

    I didn’t know what technique he’d been using when he said,

    Why does he need to be using a technique to answer her question? I get that she wasn't expecting that answer, but the introduction feels labored, more convoluted than it needs to be.

    In spite of that complaint, I'd keep reading.

  2. I liked this opening for the voice, but I also got caught up on the technique he'd been using line. I get that its in relation to the previous line, but it felt like it tried too hard.

  3. I ditto the comments above. I like the voice and where it's going, but I tripped over the use of technique.

  4. I agree with the above comments -- the second paragraph is good and gets the story moving, but perhaps more straightforward language would do.

    Also, I like both paragraphs, but because of the first paragraph, which is an attention getter (!!), I thought the next paragraph would be about the meeting. It wasn't till the end that I realized this was why he/she went to the meeting. If other people agree and/or it feels right to you, maybe start the paragraph by stating that you went because of your cousin Jon and then going into the rest of the paragraph.

  5. I like your voice overall, but I'm not a big fan of this type of opening, where we get an attention-grabber of a first line and then immediately jump backwards in time to provide the setup for said line. It's too much of a recoil for the very beginning of the book. I'm interested in the situation, for sure... it's just the structure that could use some tweaking for me.

  6. I'm sorry, but this opening makes it sound like this is one long lecture about the evils of drug abuse. I'm guessing it's really a story about this young couple's relationship to each other including their struggles with drugs.

    Except for the narcotics anonymous reference, the second paragraph doesn't support the opening line very well. For one thing, it's all back story.

    Consider continuing with the way they met. For example; We met...Chicago. He was fidgeting in the front row. I was fidgeting in the last.

    Not wonderful, but you see what I mean. Place the back story farther along, once we know more about this young couple and are invested in their plight.

  7. This is interesting. Here's what struck me as a bit off: we meet a ton of people in three sentences, and what the first line prepares us to do is get to know this couple a bit before we learn about the whole situation. I think it's the way we often talk to each other--by going back to the beginning to explain. Try moving the story forward.

    The technique bit also threw me. I'd keep reading--but not for very long unless the story moves forward. The wry first line voice is the grabber!

  8. In your second sentence, instead of "...because our group of friends constantly referred to me as the world's worst gift giver..." consider, "...since I'd been declared the world's worst gift giver by our friends..."

    I'd eliminate the whole "tradition" thing all together. Maybe, "...I'd decided to simply ask him what he wanted."

    Lastly, your first and last sentence state the same thing re the Narcotics anonymous meeting. I know the impact of your first line got you here, but maybe not give it away so quickly in your first sentence. Save the punch for the third sentence.

  9. There's a disconnect between the two paragraphs. You set us up to find out what happens at the meeting, so I thought the MC had gone to the meeting on cousin Jon's birthday.

    In most cases I prefer reading how things happen in real time. Unlike an obvious flashback memory, this feels more like bait and switch. But the first line did intrigue me. Just continue with what happened at the meeting.