Books may hook us with their covers, their taglines, their blurb, or the big, flashing, famous author’s name. But let’s face it - once we open to that front page, it’s the first line that decides whether or not the book comes home with us or not.
Think of it like the ultimate bar pick-up line competition...
Hemingway, Melville, and Meyer are sitting at a bar. You walk up to order your drink and say coyly, “So, who’s coming home with me tonight?”
Hemingway downs a shot and spouts off, “’The marvelous thing is that it’s painless, he said.’”
Melville mumbles into his ale, “Call me Ishmael.”
And Meyer says with a bright smile, “I'd never given much thought to how I would die — though I'd had reason enough in the last few months — but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this.”
Personally, I’d go with Hemingway. Ishmael is too hard to scream out in the throes of passion, and although Meyer’s offering is intriguing, it screams STAGE 4 CLINGER to me. Then there’s Hemingway. Now I’m curious. What’s painless? Why is it painless? Who’s saying that? The man’s got a story to tell, and I’m more than willing to listen to it, despite his obscenely misogynist and bigoted views.
The first line...it makes all the difference.
My November release Lace & Lead with Escape Publishing opens on the oh, so abrupt:
“Shit! Keep your head down!”
Doesn’t strike me as the start of a romance novel, but I loved writing these characters and this story.
But this first line got me to thinking about romance novels in general. There’s such a wide variety within the romance genre, so many options, and so many hooks to get readers into a book. I’m also fortunate to have met a number of incredible published and unpublished authors who adore their craft and were willing to talk with me about it.
Over the next two weeks, these authors will be sharing their favorite first lines from romance novels and why those lines resonated with them. I’ll be providing you with information about these authors so you can hunt them down and read their writing, or keep track of them until their names are gracing the covers of books in your local bookstore.
So, let’s find out which pick-up lines worked best...