Saturday, March 29, 2008

Opening pages

When looking at the flow of the story, make sure that your opening pulls the reader into the story. Your first sentence and paragraph are very important. Many readers will judge whether to buy a book or not by reading the first page or so.

“Did anyone follow you?” Baltasar Escalante stepped out from the shadows cast by the pine trees.” Hearts on the Line, Love Inspired Suspense, June 2006 by Margaret Daley

"Move and you're dead." Maggie Somers lifted the .22 higher, trying desperately to keep her hand from shaking. "I have a gun pointed at you." Buried Secrets, Love Inspired Suspense, October 2007 by Margaret Daley

“The heat woke her. That and the silence.” Even in the Darkness, Love Inspired Suspense, January 2006 by Shirlee McCoy

“Zach Marshall instinctively ducked and yanked the steering wheel to the right after a sudden blast of gunfire rippled across the back window.” The Inn at Shadow Lake, Love Inspired Suspense, December 2006 by Janet Edgar

“‘Not my baby!’ In a split second, Lydia Sloan saw everything unfold—the black Mercedes parked in the deserted school yard, the tinted window partially lowered, her six-year-old son’s hesitation before he stepped toward the stranger’s car.” Nowhere to Hide, Love Inspired Suspense, April 2007 by Debby Giusti

“‘I didn’t want it to come to this, but you wouldn’t leave well enough alone. You just couldn’t stop snooping. You forced me to do this.” The intruder approached the figure sprawled on the floor, nudged him, then bent down and felt his pulse.” Don’t Look Back, Love Inspired Suspense, March 2008 by Margaret Daley

Not every story will start out with a dynamite first sentence, often having to do with the suspense or mystery. Some will set the scene. It could be a peaceful scene that quickly turns bad.

“Autumn looks like death, sometimes, with the bloodred leaves fading to burgundy and finally to rust and brown.” A Murder Among Friends, Love Inspired Suspense, February 2007 by Ramona Richards

“Emma St. James drove down the lane that led to her brother’s cabin on an Illinois lake. The overhanging oak and maple trees shaded the road, heightening the darkness beginning to creep over the landscape with the approach of dusk.” So Dark the Night, Love Inspired Suspense, March 2007 by Margaret Daley
Using words like shaded, darkness and creep begins to set the scene begins to be set. By the next page Emma witnesses her brother being murdered and she must run for her life.

“Grinning, Corbin Griswall whirled his reel and ran his line in, fighting the heavy pull on the other end. It had been a slow day for fishing, and the two small crappies he’d caught hadn’t put up this much of a struggle. He was panting by the time the object surfaced. Corbin started at the realization that it wasn’t a salmon he’d landed.” Stormcatcher, Love Inspired Suspense, February 2006 by Colleen Rhoads

What are some of your favorite opening lines in books?

Margaret Daley

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