Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The First Sentence

The hardest sentence for me to write on my blog is the first one. The words that are chosen for the first sentence either hooks readers or looses them. They need to be unusual or unexpected or somehow arresting. I struggle with choosing the words for the first sentence. Sometimes the first sentence is the last one I write. I write it and write it and pretty much edit it to death! 

In thinking about opening sentences for my blog, I began to think about the opening sentences in books. If you had to chose a book by the opening sentence what would interest you? How about this one? "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." Would that draw you in? Evidently it's a good sentence. Thousands have read and enjoyed Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

Just for something fun to do, I randomly picked ten books from my bookshelf and from the library and made a list of first sentences.

1. Katherine was going to die.
2. I like to begin walks on the bridge at One Mile
3. Valen, Lord St. Evert, stood at the foot of his father's bed, clutching one of the massive posts.
4. I don't like to lose Eve.
5. The first thing Gwen Foster noticed was the man's angry scowl.
6. The air smelled of apples, and the orchard hummed with the sound of bees hovering over the bushels of harvested fruit.
7. July heat hung over the yard like a blanket.
8. Peter Matthew Morgan stood at the counter picking up his things.
9. You're looking very well, Mrs. Merritt.
10. A funeral always made for a bad day.

Which of these first sentences intrigues you enough to want to read the book? Choose one and then check the list below to find out which book it came from.

1.  The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah Ladd
2.  Poemcrazy by Susan G. Wooldridge
3. Cut From The Same Cloth by Kathleen Baldwin
4.  Night and Day by Iris Johansen
5.  Sunday Kind of Love by Dorothy Garlock
6.  The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs
7.  Comanche Magic by Catherine Anderson
8.  Ransom by Danielle Steel
9.  Exclusive by Sandra Brown
10. Falling Awake by Jayne Ann Krentz

There's a story about some of the books in the list. Mr. H found about four boxes of books that someone had dumped on a trail near our house. They were mostly in good shape, so I brought them home. There were several I knew I'd read. The rest were donated to the library's used book sale and the Salvation Army. I can't imagine why someone would just dump books. There are so many places to donate them! I was thankful that Mr. H. found them before it rained. Between those books and the library I haven't bought a book in a long time.

So, what do you look for when you choose a book to read; a pretty cover, a catchy title, a gripping summary, a well-known author, OR the first sentence? 

If you have a moment, write in the comment section which first sentence in my list intrigued you. If I were given the list and had to choose a book to read from it, I would chose #6, because I do love nature. It sounds like a good book to read with fall right around the corner. I haven't read it yet, but it's next in line. Right now I'm reading #5 Dorothy Garlock's Sunday Kind Of Love. I enjoy her books. She writes historical fiction which is my favorite. Her books are easy to read, have good dialog which is important to me, and characters that are real and developing. I think Dorothy Garlock describes her books very well, "I'm just a storyteller and like homey, down-to-earth characters, everyday people who have everyday problems and solve their problems with dignity. I'm not trying to give them a history lesson, I just want to entertain, if for a little while." I've read all of her books and what she says is true.

Happy Reading!


  1. Great post Cathy, I myself are in love with cheap romance novels and also audio books that I listen to while at the gym. The opening sentence for me was 1,8, and 10. I look for an opening sentence that grabs me as I guess everyone does. If it starts off in a first few chapters with so many confusing characters I quickly lose interest. I would rather have few of them so I can remember who is who.

    I can't imagine who would do such a thing either but then again I am often confused by what people do. Love the post Cathy.

    1. should have said "am in love". Goodness me can't type this morning. Time for another cup of coffee.

  2. Great post. Very innovative. I chose #6 because I also love nature. Your blog is truly an inspiration. Always look forward to your excellent photos and writings. Such a wonderful combination.

  3. What a fun post, Cathy. I would chose book number 6 first because it sounds homely and full of goodness and everyday living and because I love apples! Then I would chose number 7 because it sounds slow-moving and delicious and all about enjoying the moment and living it to the full!
    I enjoyed your accompanying photographs!

  4. Well, 1 and 10 seem to go together, don't they? They both intrigue me. I only read on Kindle now because of my formaldehyde allergy. I get samples of books, and if I'm not hooked in a few pages, I don't buy. I do like strong characters, Nature, and good descriptions, but I also like an author who leaves my imagination run wild and doesn't tell me everything. A fun post, Cathy. I'll think of you when I'm writing my first sentence!

  5. #6 Was my first choice. I like authors who are very descriptive in their writing. It helps the reader to understand more of where the book is going I think.

  6. What a fun post -- you hooked me with your first sentence! Yes, writing can be challenging, I seem to write and edit and write and edit. It didn't use to be so hard. As far as your list goes, I chose number 6 too, I loved the imagery. Now off to read a book....

  7. i thought a lot about this and while i'm sure it is true, it is not something i do or agonize over. i just sit down and write.....

    i like to write one day and review the second. i make a lot of changes when i read it back and prepare a post to publish. i rarely write and publish on the same day!!

    i am not a reader, i have memory issues due to MS but i chose #6, that one drew me in!!!

  8. i forgot to say, that i find you to be an excellent writer and a great photographer!!!

  9. No surprise that we both would pick number six. I love that opening line. I have no problem starting a blog post or ending a blog post, it is the middle that I muddle in.


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