More first lines today. First, choose a genre. Does that make a difference in cadence, mood? It should. Expectations come with genre and with individual established authors.
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
"At night I would lie in bed and watch the show, how bees squeezed through the cracks of my bedroom wall and flew circles around the room, making that propeller sound, a high-pitched zzzzzz that hummed along my skin."
A Light in the Window by Jan Karon
"Serious thinking and crossing the street, he once said, shouldn’t be attempted simultaneously."
Home to Harmony by Phillip Gulley
"When I was in the second grade,my teacher, Miss Maxwell, read from the The Harmony Herald that one in every four children lived in China."
Sassy Cinderella and the Valiant Vigilante by Sharon Dunn
"Jesus, chocolate, and a mocha with the steam rising from it. Jesus, chocolate, and a mocha with the steam rising from it."
Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
"My mother did not tell me they were coming. "
Daughter of Prophecy by Miles Owens
Prologue: "Now you can push, m'lady, Drysi the midwife announced in weary triumph."
Chapter 1: "Her home was a ruin."
The Loop by Nicholas Evans
"The scent of slaughter, some believe, can linger in a place for years."
Twin Targets by Marta Perry
(There's a prologue, but this is chapter one.)
"The woman's body lay on the cold, dirty concrete floor of the garage, a few feet from her car."
Face of Betrayal by Lis Wiehl with April Henry
"'Come on, Jalapeno!' Katie Converse jerked the dog's leash."
In James Scott Bell's The Art of War for Writers, he says to give the action first and then the setting descriptions if you're going for page-turning "momentum." If you need to slow the pace, then open with the setting description.
This book does the second opening:
"The spring of the year is always beautiful in the mountains of North Carolina, and I hated to think this would be my last to see the blooming of the dogwood trees and the greening of the slopes."
(Land Sakes by Margaret Graham)
What is the pace of your book? Genre? These things do make a difference. Also, whose POV do you open with? You may end up going back to write your opening AFTER you've written your book. Considering all the things that set the tone and get your reader into the book, you may want to consider how the book's first impression brings your reader to the story.
Assignment to share with us: Pick a genre (your favorite is nice) and look at the opening. (You can share it with us.) What is the pace? Fast or slow? Does it open with action or a description? Does this match the genre and the entire pace of the book? What is the mood?
(Yesterday's offer for those who comment still holds today. If you live outside the U.S., I'm sorry that I will have to only offer the free 5-page read. If you comment every day, that counts as extra entries!)