First Impressions (With Extra Special Polling Fun!)

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a book must be in possession of a a fabulous first line. The reader’s willingness to soldier on through the rest of the text all hangs on this beginning. Or so many people believe. And we do know folks who glance at that one short phrase and that is that.

We think the real test is the first paragraph. Maybe even the first page or two. We Lisas are an easygoing pair; we will read at least a couple of pages of any book before we make the decision to read or not to read.

Our manuscript is done. This does not stop us from obsessing over that all important opening line. Does ours catch the eye and stir the imagination? Is the wording zippy? Is it round and full without being a run-on sentence, containing every aspect of the book, the characters, their dress sizes, dreams for the future and favorite colors all crammed into one tiny, fragile nutshell?

More importantly, which one should we use? Because we’ve written so many drafts, we have several firsts. Obviously, we can’t use them all. Saying the Lisas are indecisive is like saying the Alps are rather tall. Confidentially, we’re not convinced any of our opening lines will leave you breathless. But we are rather fond of our first paragraph and are deeply attached to pages 2-8.  Even that fades next to our undying devotion to pages 105-110. But our love for later sections of the book does not help us in our quandary over line one.

Dear Reader,


7 responses to “First Impressions (With Extra Special Polling Fun!)

  1. I still remember the first line of “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret.” Well, I can’t quote it to you but it had something to do with Margaret’s mother’s deodorant. Or, maybe that was on page two. The point here is that all I remember about that book has to do with sweaty underarms so I think that a really catchy first line is VERY important. I think Judy Blume might feel sad if she read this comment.

  2. So you’re either telling us Ms. Blume got you to start using deodorant or you resent deodorant, were traumatized by deodorant – perhaps you are saying we need to use more deodorant? I totally can’t figure out why that would “stick” with you as an opening line. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m feeling a hot flash coming on.

  3. You guys do NOT stink. Ha ha ha… What I’m saying is that when you’re 12 years old, you’re very impressionable. When you’re 43, you’re equally as impressionable (and you probably have LESS focus than you did as an adolescent). The first line might stay with you for the rest of your life so make it a good one.

    • yeah, especially considering “the rest of our life” is so very, very short and full of exciting prospects, like senility
      – what were we talking about again?

  4. I was going to comment but I forgot!

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