I always have problems with first sentences. Often my own stories, I can spend a long time stuck on that single first line. For reading, I have the same issue with prologues. I often skip ahead, and return to those first few words when I have a clearer idea of what they should be – when I know a little more about the story, and the characters involved.
Wanting to write something but being stuck on a tiny fragment is so frustrating. Be it a poem, a short story, an in-progress novel or otherwise – there’s something about those first few words that hold me up more than most. I can spend ridiculous amounts of time searching for the perfect word, the correct count of syllables, the right beat. First words are important, I think, with a big job to do. They introduce the story, the poetry, the characters. They give a sense of what is to come. They can create atmosphere, tension, define the mood, the tone, the style. They are the foundation upon which the rest of the book is built. They are the sentence the next one follows. And most importantly of all, perhaps, they can make or break a connection with the reader.
I love reading. Besides writing, and spending time with my family and pets, it is my most favourite thing to do. Some books I have read have the most marvellous first words. From “Call me Ishmael1” to “In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit2” to “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen3“, a book’s first words are our initial introduction to a story, to the characters, and our own first step of the adventure or journey concealed within.
That brings me to this blog. To this online space of instantly published words. And this first post: an introduction.
Writing a blog is no different to writing a book, in some ways. As a writer you begin both with an empty page, an idea of what you want to create, and a target audience. Each will be judged on those first few read words by any new reader, visitor, or otherwise.
I am yet to find the right first words for my own novel. As with much of what I write, I have skipped ahead and will be returning to perfect the opening words when I have a better idea of what they should be. And, since I am writing a book … I thought I would run it alongside this site in order to share my experiences, document my progress, my setbacks, and any achievements along the way.