Monday, June 23, 2014

First Sentences

As my first official blog post, it would seem only fitting that I write about first sentences. Lately, I've been finding first sentences in books that I check out in the library. I've never really paid attention to them, but the first sentence is, I think, one of the most important parts in a book. It draws you in, even if you don't consciously realize it.

These are the books I checked out this week:

  • Mossflower by Brian Jacques
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  • The One Safe Place by Tania Unsworth
  • She is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedwick
  • How my Private, Personal Journal Became a Bestseller by Julia DeVillers
  • Skellig by David Almond
Out of all of these (yes, I read a lot) my favorite first sentence was in The One Safe Place. "It was tree o' clock in the afternoon before Devin was done digging the grave." This is such a simple first sentence that you almost don't notice it. And then you think: Wait a minute. Why is he digging a grave? Who's the grave for? What does it mean, tree o' clock?

Well, first off, I can answer the last question. It means three o' clock, but Blogger has some glitch that won't let me go back and correct typos without correcting everything else. Oh well.

But I digress. The point is, that is a cool first sentence to open up a dystopian book. But I did notice that there are a lot of other ways to begin a novel. Mossflower begins with description. "Late autumn winds sighed fitfully around the open gatehouse door, rustling brown gold leaves in the fading afternoon." She is Not Invisible begins with, "One final time I told myself I wasn't abducting my little brother". I love this one too. How my Private, Personal Journal... jumps right into the story with someone talking: "Thirty seconds! Thirty seconds until showtime, everyone!Miss Peregrine's... begins with a somewhat cliche but still pretty good first line: "I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen."And last but not least, Skellig starts out with "I found him in the garage on a Sunday afternoon", which is a great first line as well.

Anyway, this is my "musing" for today, and I will return.

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