Welcome to my blog, SCRIBBLING TO (IN)SANITY! First time here? I'm a romance writer who wants to believe most problems can be solved over coffee, a mixed drink or by anything covered in chocolate. I'm a believer in second chances and that it's always the right time to fall in love. As the saying goes, you're a guest in my house only once...then you're family. So I invite you to join the fun! I love comments but it's okay to lurk too - just know I'm glad you've found me and I hope you visit me again soon!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Make an entrance on page one!

When I first created stories in my head and then on paper - a long time ago - I had no idea there were any "rules" for writing a novel that would sell.

Then I met other writers, I went to conferences, met agents and editors and joined critique groups...then I was introduced to the rules of writing. (Wow, what an eye opener for a newbie!)

One of the first things I did as a new writer was to go out and buy books on learning the craft of writing. Yup...we all do it (and I still do!)

Robert's Rules of Writing - 101 unconventional lessons every writer needs to learn was one of my first purchases. It's not a guide, and it doesn't really teach the craft of writing, what it does do is dispel a few myths and shares a few facts on writing for publication.

My tip today is Robert's Rule #42: Make an Entrance.

Or as most of us have heard countless times, "start in the right place!"

Such an easy thing to say, sometimes such a hard thing to do. It's hard to filter out the backstory. But to get the reader engaged from page one, you have to start with something that's going to make them want to read more - not a frolic through the woods picking daisies along the way and them WHAM the real action starts three pages in (or worse, in chapter two!)

With attention spans what they are today - how many people are going to stick with your meandering through perfectville long enough to get to the action? And you can forget an agent or editor making it that far either.

The truth is that while everyone wants peace and happiness in their own daily lives - they don't want to read about it. Peace and harmony don't make for good fiction!

And here's where your grand entrance comes in.

Start with a first line that captures attention or at least grabs the readers attention and makes them think.

And since I don't believe in telling and not showing (haha, a little writing humor...) I've got a few examples from my own work, both published and a work-in-progress:

A Fistful of Fate
Copyright 2010
Lyrical Press

William Montgomery stood in the shadowed doorway and watched the woman he’d waited two hundred years for kiss another man. But Reginald Merriweather wasn’t just any man. He was the man William blamed for Rebecca Beauregard’s death all those years ago, a crime Will had been accused of and paid for. With his own life.


Surrender to the Sheriff

It's time.
Two simple words.
Written in the familiar handwriting of Grandma Rose on a single sheet of pale pink paper and delivered by mail exactly two years after her death.


Are those few lines enough to convince you to read on?
Have you considered your first few lines and if taken all alone, are they enough to grab the reader to at least get them to finish the page, to turn the page and hopefully keep going?

Have a great first line you'd like to share?



  1. Those are awesome!! And the book A Fistful of Fate was just as good. Opening lines I'm pretty good at, it's the whole beginning that gives me agida. I never know where to start. Thankfully, once I'm over that hum the book flows.

    Thanks for a great post!

  2. I'm always changing my starts, Deb. :P Too true, though. Needing to capture your reader is so important. Let me give you an example...

    Rachel Veder drove her electric car north out of the city.

    See what I mean? Ugh. I need to fix that again. Yes, again. That one is the fixed version! :D

  3. I've read a several good first lines, but dang, I can't remember them readily nor can I remember which books they came from. Sorry.I love when I read a very good first line and it makes me say wow.

    Good post. : )


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