First 2 Lines

How you start a book off, will determine the flow of the entire manuscript. Here are some authors that showed great courage to submit their first 2 lines. Please comment on your favorites and give constructive feedback.

“Dan ‘Scarecrow’ Burnside sat facing the locum at the Doctor’s Surgery. His usual GP was absent today, but the man sitting before him looked strangely familiar, in fact he was probably the happiest and jolliest Doctor he’d ever met in his life.” Discover Yourself on the Yellow Brick Road – 7 Core Principles of Career Success, by Wendy Dashwood-Quick.

“I picked up my bottle in the nick of time.” (Spoken by Kiel Bronson to avoid having drink spilled because of the bar fight.) In the Blink of an Alien Eye, by Miriam Pia.

“Security officer Tina looks at the wall clock over the reception desk. Ten more minutes before business hours it shows.” Street Life – Adventures in the asphalt cement jungle, by George Arthur Davis.

“‘Bitch!’ I roll my eyes at the corpulent little imbecile from accounting, then spin on my heel to head back to my desk. I need to get the hell away before I hurt him.” Maxine Briscoe: Werewolf, by Melissa Bradley.

“Oh my God! Is that what I think it is?” Fran plucked the photo from Allie’s hand and tilted it to catch more of the dim lighting. Noraebang, by Eileen Schub.

“Things are never how they seem, especially in police work.” Testarossa, by Julie Dolcemaschio. (Coming Soon.)

“Detective Rita Moldova peeked around the corner to make sure the hallway was empty. Making a quick right turn, she slipped into the autopsy lab to have a few minutes alone with the body.” Gypsy Crystal, by Lorrie Unites-Struiff.

“It was winter in Van Nuys. Winter in Southern California could never evoke the frosty bleakness of the northern states, but on the right night it was still capable of creating an ambiance of urban drear and desolation.” The Guys Who Spied for China, by Gordon Basichis.

“The last day of Dash’s shift was the most eventful of his career. Two of the events were fairly routine – preventing collisions in Earth Orbit was his occupation as a space sweeper.” Kite: A novel in Earth Orbit, by Bill Shears.

“The first memories I have of my childhood are of me and my father, James Mathis, playing catch in the backyard. I was about five-years-old and even back then I can remember my father telling me that I would someday play for the Yankees.” 33 Summers, by Darren L. Pare. (Connect with Darren on Facebook.)

“It wasn’t the kind of day you wanted to work. It was steamy hot, no electricity so the noise of the generating sets added to the discomfort.” Blood Contract, by Biola Olatunde. (Connect with Biola on Facebook.)

“The two scout ships flanked the science shuttle on the Chief Science Officer’s first vist. The symbol of the UWC Orion was emblazoned on the side of each ship.” Scout Squad: Going Native, by Mark O. Chapman.

“The whole thing started with a dream. Kurt hadn’t seen her in almost 30 years.” Living the Dream, by Tim Baker.

“From her perch above Miriam’s tomb, the goddess looked over the dead city of Petra. So unfair that she tethered here while the world moved on without her.” Veil of Justice, by Regan Black.

“There was a beautiful mansion in a middle of a vineyard where a little boy was running outside, he was giggling and playing with his dog Max, a golden retriever. A man called out to him.” Kisho Cross: Volume 1, by Ann Marie B. Aguilar. (Published by Lulu.)

“Eleni Kyrillos sat before the viewing screen; its glow wrapped her ivory-white nude form in a veil of crimson. She beheld what lay below the star ship on the protoplanet Hecate – a ball of molten rock seething with red-black lava flows, haloed by silver-like dust clouds, and accented by golden jets of hot sulfur-rich gas.” The Pillars of Creations, by Mary Anne Landers.

“Dawn broke across the eastern horizon, seeping into the skies above the ancient city of Denathere, the Jewel of Imphallion. And the ancient city, in its turn, would break beneath the newborn dawn.” The Conqueror’s Shadow, by Ari Marmell.

“People weren’t known to be that considerate in the little southwestern town of Flybait, Texas. They were always attaching names to people based on some physical deformity or fateful event in that person’s life.” Flybait, Texas, by Danny Langone. (Connect with Danny on Facebook.)

Simon firmly believed in ‘live and let live,’ a policy that seemed less self-serving before his death sentence.       “My son,” began the broad-faced man in a clerical collar and black shirt, “would you like me to hear your confession?” Of the One, by Pam Stebbbins.

“Even in his middle age, it wasn’t any easier for Abraham Beshaw to revisit the painful memories of his childhood. Time and distance had not allowed for it, nor had getting married and having children, which people had told his mother would be sure healers for him and the rest of her family.” Desta and King Solomon’s Coin of Fortune, by Getty Ambau.

“As Nicky woke, she adjusted her eyes to the sunshine, which was making itself comfortable in her bedroom. She looked outside and noticed the world was starting to breathe.” Sweet Dreams, Miss England, by Iris Blobel.

“The battle was over – King Henry I of England stood victorious over King Louis VI ‘the fat’ of France. Once again forced to defend his dukedom of Normandy, in triumph he surveyed the battlefield.” A Knight of Silence, by Candace Bowen Early.

“The woman on the galloping black horse threw a glance over her shoulder. Past the low, proliferous shrubbery of the rising plains, through the gentle steam of hidden hot springs, she saw the red dust cloud rising around the last bend in the road.” The Wicked Heroine: Book One in the Legend of the Shanallar Duology, by Jasmine Giacomo.

“Good for you! The fact that you opened this guide means that you are ready to figure out how to make some positive changes in your lifestyle – realistic changes that will last for a lifetime.” The Get REAL Guide to Health and Fitness, by Lisa Schilling.

“Pewter clouds dropped heavy rain that pounded the roof of the staid church. It was the sort of day that tempted all faithful churchgoers to visit the chapel of Pastor Pillow and Sister Sheet.” Last Door, by Raven Rozier.

“Being dead proved less traumatic than he had expected. In fact, lost mortality gave him freedom he’d not known for decades.” Passing Through, by Ron Smith.

“I see their skin melt away from their faces, brushed with ash. Eye sockets empty; deep abyss holes and besieged voices that cry out with terrifying sorrow.” The Future Kills, by Ron Knight. (CAUTION: This novel will arrive in the near future.)

Which ones are your favorites? Post your comments here or on Facebook.

Thank you to all the authors for their submissions.

Ron Knight

Author of “2-10”

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  1. Thank you for the first-two-lines list, Ron. It’s not only interesting in itself; it also causes me to think about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to hooking a reader. I bet it affects quite a few of the visitors to your website the same way.

    Here’s my feedback. I like best two kinds of hooks. The first are those that describe (well, start to) an intriguing situation. An author can say little in just two sentences, but in several cases there’s enough to get the story moving and to carry a reader’s interest along.

    Examples are the openers by Eileen Schub, Lorie Unites-Shruiff, Darren L. Pare, Regan Black, Pam Stebbins, and Jasmine Giocomo; and your first hook, the one for “Passing Through”.

    The other kind I dig is a vivid, evocative mini-description of a scene, a mood, an important physical object (or more than one), or a character. Examples are those by Gordon Basichis, Mark O. Chapman, and Jasmine Giocomo. Note that Ms. Giocomo’s opener works for me on both counts.

    As for those examples that are unlikely to keep me reading, first a disclaimer. I’m just one reader, and I can’t tell by what’s written here that I’d be a target reader for a given work. So please take my criticism with a grain of salt. If not a whole shaker-full.

    In some of these openers, the author gets the whole ball rolling with some nasty, repulsive, and/or violent imagery or situation. This implies (to me, anyhow) that the rest of the work will be full of the same, and that the author goes for ugliness for ugliness’s sake. Not my kind of reading material. Examples of this sort in the above list should be pretty obvious.

    Another kind of turn-off opener is when the author appears to be trying too hard. It strikes me as a contrivance designed solely to hook the reader rather than a natural part of the storytelling process. I’d rather not list examples, with one exception: my own.

    A subset of this type of regrettable opener is when the author clumsily dumps info into the hook. Of course, clumsy info-dumping is regrettable at any point; but it shows up most glaringly when it opens the work. And of course, it can do the most damage there. A reader might decide to read no further. I found only a single example here, and I’ll leave it up to website visitors figure out which one it is.

    Finally, a handful of openers are too bland. They either tell me nothing of interest, or state a truism that I’m only too familiar with. I might go on reading anyhow, for reasons beyond the scope of this discussion. However, I don’t have much use for a hook that doesn’t hook.

    Hope this helps. Keep up the good work!

  2. Ron Knight says:

    Mary Anne:

    That was a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing and advising on great hooks to start a book. Everything you said was perfect. ~ Ron Knight