I'm spending the weekend reading Short Circuit, a guide to writing short stories, with chapters written by various award winning short story writers. It has lots of excellent advice. I'll be hosting the editor of the collection, Vanessa Gebbie, here on the 15 of January as part of her blog tour. I hope you'll stop by.
In the part I was reading yesterday, the writer speaks about the importance of first lines. I always hear about agents and publishers who claim that they can pick out a winner from only the first line. I never actually believed this. I tend to be a bit more holistic, I want a good story. A good line does not make a good story. But perhaps I'm wrong; I'd like us to find out.
I thought it might be fun if I put a few first lines below and get my readers' comments. I'm not including from where they come. I'd like to hear some unbiased opinions. Names often cloud our judgement. I'll reveal everything after a few days in the comments section.
A) Fiona lived in her parents’ house, in the town where she and Grant went to university.
B) When she was eight, Irene Rosen's grandfather told her one day, with the air of confiding a momentous secret, that he was half Sephardi.
C) She goes to their tiny country house in the woods with her daughter, ten days after the sudden death of her husband, and it isn't the silence but the noise, the wind in the trees, the way the leaves whack the window.
D)Early that day the weather turned and the snow was melting into dirty water.
E) This tale begins at the end; McPhineas Lata, the perennial bachelor who made a vocation of troubling married women is dead.
F) The leaves are the color of dried carrots.
So, which do you like best? Which ones catch you and make you want to finish the story? Which ones make you want to move on? Why? Do you think the first line defines the story?