SCBWI: A New Year, and a Fresh Take on First Lines

From: The Official SCBWI Blog
January 03, 2012 at 06:00AM

Happy 2012!

The New Year feels like a great time to share with you this great resource from Darcy Pattison, OPENING LINES: 12 Ways To Start a Novel.

Darcy has taken the ten major ways you can start your novel and illustrated them with the  “100 Best Lines from Novels,” as chosen by the editors of the American Book Review.  She’s also added two additional categories of ways to start that didn’t show up in the 100, but are used, often in more innovate formats and graphic novels.

The first line of “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville (the #1 Best Line in the American Book Review’s 100) is an    “I AM” opening, where you’re meeting a character and the first-person narrator is giving a summary or a judgment about themselves.

The 100 best lines is fascinating reading on its own, but Darcy’s breaking it down into categories in this way reveals patterns that are inspirational for writers and illustrators as well.   – How are you going to start to tell the story you want to tell?  Viewpoint on Life, Mid-Action, Set Up, Let’s Meet Jack or Jill, I am… (and that’s only five of them!)

What I love most about Darcy’s article is the challenge built into it: 

Can you take your current first line of your work in progress, and re-work it in ALL twelve of these ways?

What a powerful tool to give us 12 new first lines for our novels!

It’s the beginning of a story full of possibility…  and a new year full of possibility as well!

Illustrate and Write On,

p.s.  Darcy will be on faculty at the upcoming #NY12SCBWI, and you can find out more about SCBWI’s Winter Conference in New York City, January 27-29, 2012 here.


Posted on January 3, 2012, in SCBWI and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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