Saturday, May 7, 2022

To Hook ‘Em or Sink ‘Em


How important is the first line? And what if what matters more is the first paragraph?


When writing Shadow of Eternal Flames, my debut fantasy romance novella, I wrote what I felt the story needed! I didn’t consider whether a hook was important or not. I don’t believe this “sank” my book, but I also don’t believe it “hooked” anyone in, either. My opening line is “The wooden floors creaked at the touch of the young woman’s feet as she tiptoed down the hallway towards her father’s study, struggling to hear the muffled voices.”

As I continue to grow as an author, I realize how much I can improve for the future. Although the first line is unlikely to cause a reader to close the book, it is still a good idea to make it fit well within the vibes of your story. Fantasy, as a genre, leans towards opening lines that describe the landscape of the scene. Fantasy Romance, however, often begins with the main character's thoughts or emotional state. Some great examples of opening lines that made me see the authors vision are:


“The forest had become a labyrinth of snow and ice.” -A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas.


“The morning had dawned clear and cold, with a crispness that hinted at the end of summer.” -A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin.


“The first note pierced the silence as the orchestra warmed up.” -Music of the Night by Angela J. Ford


And some opening lines that truly made me feel something:


“Everyone in my home had a death wish, and as time went on, I was becoming more and more likely to oblige them.” -Between Wrath and Mercy by Jess Wisecup.


“Cassia was always one maneuver away from her last breath.” -Blood Mercy by Vela Roth.


“The life of the Maiden is solitary.” -From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout.


I’ll be honest. I believe first lines should be as beautiful or epic as you want them to be, and I do believe they have weight. That being said, I think your last line is much more important, and that is something we don’t often discuss. Your last line is the last thing a reader reads or hears, it is your closing note. I can’t tell you many first lines. I can remember an author's first line being well done, but usually not the words themselves. Last lines, however, I have many engraved into my mind.


“And so Tamlin unwittingly led the High Lady of the Night Court into the heart of his territory.” -A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas.


“And follows him out into the dark.” -The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab.


I am very proud of my last line. Even now, it makes me smile. Very simple, “I remember.” Write what you love, write what makes you proud, and the first lines will come. If you’re a reader, consider your favorite lines and why you love them. Look back at your favorite books and read the first lines again with new eyes! Did you have any idea what you were getting yourself into when you opened it up and read those first few words?


Priscilla Rose is a first-time author of the fantasy romance novella SHADOW OF ETERNAL FLAMES. She currently resides in Central Florida with her husband and their cat KitKat. When she isn't writing or reading, Priscilla spends her time at Renaissance Festivals and Anime Conventions where she cosplays and socializes to her heart's content. She is looking forward to showing the world her fantastical romance stories full of hope, hear, and happily ever after! 

1 comment:

  1. I love that—the last line is what lingers with readers after they close the book!!!