Quick Link: The Right First Impression by Virginia Heath

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I am thrilled and overwhelmed over my reading choices these days, just like everyone else. So to narrow down my tr pile I will go ahead and start a couple of pages. You will be lucky if your potential readers give your story that much. So having a really good start is important to hook your reader and keep them going. At Romance University, Virginia Heath talks about how to make the right first impressions.

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The Right First Impression by Virginia Heath

Posted On June 27, 2016

The Yuri Gagarin monument. He was the first in space and never boring.

The Yuri Gagarin monument. He was the first man in space and never boring.

Sometimes, you don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression, and that adage applies to the beginning of your story. Virginia Heath returns to talk about elements that factor into a line that will grab and keep a reader’s attention. 

Welcome back, Virginia! 

‘Jack Markham, lately christened the Earl of Braxton, brought his horse to a stop on the brow of the hill just as the first rays of the sun burnt through the hazy mist of the early…’ Zzzzzzzzzzz sorry I nodded off there!

Those were the uninspiring first lines of my doomed, never-to-be-published first attempt at a historical romance novel. If the reader had a convenient pair of matchsticks at the ready to prop open their drooping eyes, the story then went into a great deal of description about the fictitious place he happened to be riding in. I think the story actually started somewhere around page five. Five wasted pages where I should have hooked my reader and made them want to continue reading my book. I’ve come a long way since then.

My dreary beginning aside, there have been some cracking first lines in literature. “All children, except one, grow up.” I read J M Barrie’s ‘Peter Pan’ from cover to cover when I was eight. He had me from the first evocative sentence. Even at that young age, his words hooked me and dragged me into his world. The concept of one boy remaining a child forever was beyond appealing. Since then, there have been certain opening lines which I will never forget. They all come from my favourite books, but there is one which I love more than all of the others combined. “Being dead didn’t make Jack Mercy less of a son of a bitch. One week of dead didn’t offset sixty-eight years of living mean.” These words were written by Nora Roberts in ‘Montana Sky’, the very first book of hers I read and consistently at number one on my top ten list.

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