27 January, 2015

Romance Weekly Blog Hop: Great Openers

Thank you for hopping over from J.J. Devine's post. Her novel, Into the Darkness, is available at Amazon.

Vampires and Witches: Are they mythical creatures or something that walks amongst us every day without our knowledge? 
To Raven, a twenty-five-year-old, extremely sheltered woman, they are nothing more than something to be read about in a book. To Dragon, an eight hundred-year-old vampire, they are a way of life. 
Raven truly believes she is going mad. Erotic dreams fill her nights, causing her to question her sanity by the light of day. They lead her into a world she never knew existed and a heritage that can only be found in nightmares. 
Dragon wants nothing more than to own the mortal soul of the beautiful Raven, a woman who can make his ancient scars disappear, proof that she is far from mortal. 
Together they seek out the dark heritage of her past. What they find is much more than either of them bargained for. A destiny lies at her doorstep, one that could bring her salvation and an eternity at his side. Or, it could seal her fate and rip her from his world forever.

This week's challenge comes from Sarah Hegger (*gasp*) 

I recently finished reading her novel, Sweet Bea, and am currently helping with an ARC of Nobody's Angel.

Even without having read the first paragraph of Nobody's Angel, the synopsis generated enough buzz to make me want to beg for an advance copy.

Which brings us to Sarah's challenge:
Great Beginnings - A great opening line draws the reader in, makes them want to know more and compels them to read further. Share a great opening line, can be a classic or a more recent novel, tell us why you like it and then share the opening line to your newest WIP.

The opening from Nora Roberts' Something New reads like this:
"She knew it was crazy. That was what she liked best about it. It was crazy, ridiculous, impractical, and totally out of character. And she was having the time of her life."

Also catchy to my untrained eye is the opening scene from Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides.
“I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.”

In all fairness to every author out there who has ever or still struggles with a great opening, I am not one to notice or care.

I just don't see it, realize it's great, or remember it afterward.


What draws me in and makes me want to buy/read are two entirely banal and selfish things: the cover, and the blurb on the back.

THEN I'll open the book and skim the first few paragraphs to see if it hooks me.

The reason I picked the two examples above is only because they are thought-provoking but not why I like the author or the story.

A pattern I notice is that with both examples, the author immediately introduced me to the main character, offered up a personality quirk or dilemma, and made me want to find out how the story would unfold.

Like Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis:
"As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect."
This is definitely not a favorite of mine, but it is listed as a great opener by a lot of literary folk. I read the book, but it just wasn't my cup of tea.

Even if he opened that way and had me interested to discover more.

Thinking about it now, it seems easy to achieve in our own writing. To attempt to draw the reader in with a great intro to the main character. Nora Roberts' quirky leading lady, Cal and Calliope in Middlesex, and Gregor's metamorphosis from human to bug.

But! And, this is a huge but for me -- terrific opening lines run parallel with being able to create the perfect blurb or synopsis -- to be able to condense an entire novel into select key bits of info that will capture the reader's interest even before they open the cover.

I don't think I excel at either and struggle just as much trying to figure out how to start a novel as I do coming up with a great way to get people to read my work via the brief.

So, here is the opening scene from one of the 3 stories I'm working on right now, temporarily titled The Curse
"As soon as Kaisa Dalen read the daily blog prompt on her iPhone, she smiled. If there was one person she wished was still alive, it would definitely be her maternal gran, Elise."
I look forward to hearing what everyone else has to say about this interesting yet frustrating topic and discovering their choice of favorite opening lines.

And now, let's hop on over to visit with Dani Jace and read what she has to say about favorite opening lines.

She's got a sexy Novella -- White Doe -- available on Amazon and elsewhere. Please check it out while you're there.


  1. I'd say that opener drew me in, Raine. You know more than you give yourself credit for

  2. It doesn't always have to be the first line to grab me, but definitely something in the first couple of paragraphs.

  3. The Kafka always terrified me. I read it, for the first time, too young. Returned to it, confirming what I thought I misunderstood as a child. Later I would see the Mad Magazine reference... classics as Charlie Brown books "You're A Great Big Bug, Charlie Brown!". :)

    awww your opening lines made me warmly melancholic.

  4. Love the warmth in that opening line, definitely draws me into the writing :)

  5. Kafka definitely has a unique writing style! And where did he get that imagination? I enjoyed your opening, and can only wonder what kind of blog prompt her granny would have enjoyed. Nice job!

  6. I'm a fan of Kafka, and that line is the reason lol. You're much better than you give yourself credit for. That opening line draws you in and makes you feel the warmth of her nostalgia. =)