I asked a few authors to comment on the first sentence of their book, and I got such a great response. So good, in fact, that I’ve turned this into a little series here at Books on the Brain called Friday First Lines. Each Friday I’ll share First Line thoughts by two or three authors.
Will these first sentences be enough to entice you to add them to your TBR list? They were for me!
Author Claire King writes:
“Maman’s belly is at the stove, her bottom squeezed up against the table where we are colouring.” Claire King, The Night Rainbow
As a reader I expect a lot from the opening sentence. Like the opening bars of a song, it’s the signature of the story, more so than the ending. When you meet someone, your first impression is often visual, but when you meet a new narrator it’s the first thing they say and how they say it. So as a writer, in both short stories and in novels, I feel I owe the reader an engaging start.
I can’t write the first sentence of any story until I am almost finished. The narrator must have found her voice, and I need to be clear where the story ends to know how it must begin. In the opening of The Night Rainbow I wanted the reader to meet Pea – the narrator – and her sister, to understand that they are children, and to know what is troubling Pea most. It took me three sentences to set that out, but the first sentence goes a long way towards it, and the first word of all is the biggest clue: Maman.
“Evie picked up a small, silver-framed photo and wiped away invisible dust. ” Amy Sue Nathan, THE GLASS WIVES – A Novel