First Lines

Hi guys, doing the latest in a long line of ‘let’s try and do something useful before I die’ and I wondered if you’d all do me the capital honour of reading the following and then telling me what you think.

Which do you like the best? Which do you like the least? What makes you interested? What makes you want to know more? What’s most intriguing? What do you like about the way they’re written? What’s not to like?

*

-When Theda Fitzgerald was six years old, she took her father’s rowboat onto The Pond without permission and managed to fall into the frigid water within three and a half minutes.

-Heath Jameson looked exactly like a man called Heath Jameson would look like.

-Julia Rexford was, on the whole, pleased with life.

-The air was full of dust, metal and bits of people. There were no screams yet because nobody had caught up to what just happened. In the heat and muck, she reached out and found a warm hand. She squeezed it gently and received a squeeze in return.

-Austere. Dignified. Stoic. These were the sort of qualities ascribed to Anne Sheridan, the handsome old lady who lived in the cottage outside town.

-He’d probably looked like a matinee idol in the early evening.

“My name is Dinah Wendy Butler. I am eight years old and I live in Stevenage, which is a town in England.”

-It’s hard enough to be a teenager under normal circumstances, but when your mother is one of the most beautiful women in the world and your father is the Sexiest Man Alive (People Magazine, 20–), it seems to become even harder to deal with. For Cathleen Jameson, this was her life.


The gang of young men nicknamed the Festival Boys were well known in live music circles.

-The air was thick with arrows. Greg ran as hard as he could, knowing his life was in danger.

“Come on Tasha, run! The pigmins will get you!”

“The phrase ‘get the hell out of my sight before I bring forth the mighty vengeance of God to bear down upon on you’ seems so insignificant at the moment.”

 For most men, the sight of an enraged female stomping towards them would have been cause to run far, far away very, very quickly, but some men are exceptionally stupid and do not know when best to make their exit.

She was sat at the bar with her back to the door when he came in.

The parks of England are largely empty for three hundred and sixty days of the year. For the other five, they are full to bursting with people attempting to get as much of a suntan as the weather will allow.

-I was six years old when I realised that my mother never left the house.

-When Pippin Marshall was six years old, his mother died.

-Rachel Lewis leaned over the side of the boat and threw up for the second time.

-It started, she always said, with a smile. One brief, split second moment in which a young man’s mouth widened to form a pleasing shape.

-Everyone agreed that Bill Hayward was a handsome devil. At twenty-three he was tall, strong and had a smile fit to charm birds from trees and Geordies out of cash in return for coal. Of the five Hayward brothers, Bill was the eldest and had the greater concentration of charm and looks.

-Mrs Erica Lamb died at 2.43 on the morning of the first of April. This much was confirmed by the police, although nobody knew how she died, why or who might have done it.

Her granddaughter Wendy had only one thing to say: “It’s all a bit Agatha Christie, isn’t it?”

There is a something a little wild in all men, but some men are wilder than others.

-Rory-Anne Tennant hated weddings. She also hated being referred to as Rory-Anne, but that wasn’t as pressing as her hatred of weddings.

When Marie Taylor woke up, it was 1974. She knew it was 1974 when she woke up because a woman with bright red hair was standing over her and said:

“Hello Marie. It’s the first of June, 1974. Want a cup of tea?”

“No thank you. And what did you say?”

This was how Marie Taylor discovered that she was definitely not normal.

-“I thought the world was ending,” said I. “I’m still annoyed that I was right.”

– In the summer of 1973, I was seventeen years old and was about to graduate from Pacific Valley High School. I lived in Pacific Valley, one of many picturesque small towns that dotted the Southern Californian coast back then, before suburbanisation poured concrete over a lot of them.

It was the last summertime of my youth and had the feel of a last hurrah before we all went our separate ways. Days were long and hot, nights were spent dancing at the Beach Club, which was exactly that- a club built on the beach. The troubles which rested on the world’s shoulders didn’t bother us. We were young, some of us were in love and life was good.

-In the overall scheme of the universe, Marie-Charlotte was just a little girl living on a little island. Nobody particularly special, she was not over-endowed with beauty nor was she over-equipped with intelligence. As second children of Kings go, she was really very typical.

*

I’m tired of starting a hundred different things, getting a thousand ideas and then not following through. Help me find something to concentrate on, please.

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3 Responses to First Lines

  1. These are my top three:

    -In the overall scheme of the universe, Marie-Charlotte was just a little girl living on a little island. Nobody particularly special, she was not over-endowed with beauty nor was she over-equipped with intelligence. As second children of Kings go, she was really very typical.

    -When Theda Fitzgerald was six years old, she took her father’s rowboat onto The Pond without permission and managed to fall into the frigid water within three and a half minutes.

    and

    -Heath Jameson looked exactly like a man called Heath Jameson would look like.

    Out of those three… The one I like the most and would want to know more about is the second one.

    • Now to answer more questions about my favourite one:

      What makes you want to know more?

      It’s the questions that arise. The “why” involved in that opener. Why did she take the rowboat. Did she fall in on purpose? How did she manage that?

      What do you like about the way they’re written?

      The very “hook”-ness of it. In one sentence you’ve managed to catch my attention. Usually it takes a book about a page or so to do that.

      What’s not to like?

      I don’t know how to answer that. I suppose because its such a strong hook, you might have trouble keeping up with it… but I dunno.

    • apollarock says:

      Good Friend Nightfall, how the divil are you?!?!

      I should probably be worried that the one you like best is the only one there not based on an original idea of my own – it’s actually the start of a remake of Beyond The Rocks, starring one Valentino. Still, the first line is all my own, fer sure. I’m glad you picked out M-C though, because that’s from the one thing that probably has a hope in hell of both being finished and someone thinking “Yes, we can make money from this.”

      It’s one of those days-weeks-months where I feel like I have no skill, no talent, no originality in anything. Thanks for helping combat that. I hope we get to chat properly soon!

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