Okay, so no one would be stupid enough to use that as a first line, but it got me thinking. I need a great first line for Book 3 in my Clueless Cook Mystery Series. I’m just starting to plot it and get my stuff together to start the first chapter, and I want a really good first line.
Last year Mysteries and Margaritas sponsored a contest called Hook, Line and Sinker. We started with fifty first lines that were sent to 4 judges and were culled to thirty. Those thirty then submitted the last line of the first chapter. Again, judges culled them down to ten. The final ten submitted a blurb to go along with their first and last lines of Chapter One and our very own Christine Witthohn judged them. Along with M & M totes for all three winners, the number one entry received a one chapter critique from Christine. The entries were all so good, she ended up requesting all three first chapters, but only critiqued the winner. We are going to do that again, BTW. I just don’t know when.
Anyway, it made me realize how very important that first line really is. So, I decided to share a few of my favorites in no specific order.
She had to die! (Through the Grinder, A Coffeehouse Mystery from the great Cleo Coyle.)
Irony was a fickle, messed-up bitch. (Enemy Lover from the great Karin Tabke.)
Between the hot flashes, the hangover and all the spam on my computer, there’s no way I’ll get anything done before eight o’clock this morning. (Prime Time from the great Hank Phillipi Ryan.)
She felt his breath. (Shiver from the great Lisa Jackson.)
Oh, my God, you’re not going to believe this! (The Samantha Granger Experiment: Fused by the awesome Kari Lee Townsend.)
“Bury it.” (Awaken the Highland Warrior by the equally awesome Anita Clenny.
See what I mean? Every one of those lines makes me want to keep reading. When I was looking for good examples I found a whole lot of not so good ones on books by big-time authors. I wondered how many more books might have been sold if the author had just knocked their socks off with a great first line, assuming a lot of readers are like me and head straight for that first page when making a decision.
I went back and looked at my books so far and decided I didn’t do too badly. I’ll let you decide.
In LIVER LET DIE, here’s the first line:
Single, white female, stuck in a dead-end job who barely makes the rent on the closet she calls home—looking for tall, dark, handsome rich guy who loves...
Book 2, BEEF STOLEN-OFF isn’t so good.
“You’re looking at the new permanent culinary reporter for The Ranchero Globe.”
That’s why I have to have a dynamite first line for Book 3, MURDER FOR THE HALIBUT. I’m looking for help here, people. The premise is that Jordan and her band of merry troublemakers go on a cruise where she is going to judge a Cook-Off (think CHOPPED on BRAVA.)
I’ve decided the winner will get a free download of my first self-published mystery, MORTAL DECEPTION, which will be available June 1st. And if I use the line, you’ll get acknowledged in the front of MURDER FOR THE HALIBUT.
So, put on your thinking caps and fire away. Here’s the first line of MORTAL DECEPTION. I think it’s a good one.
Before the night ended, Dani Perez would have sex with a total stranger.
Obviously, it’s NOT a cozy!!
So, bring it on. You can enter as many times as you like. If you don’t want to play, tell me about your best first line.