books / editing / effort / publication / The Blue Jar / The Plum Tree / writing

That First

playing around with my art

playing around with my art


Today, I read this article–Why Stephen King Spends ‘Months and Even Years’ Writing Opening Sentences.

Of course, then I thought about the opening sentences of my novels and short stories. Some of them I have written over and over again, and the longer the story stays with me, the more I stare at its first sentence and every sentence after. It feels like madness sometimes.

Chesnie had to hurry before she lost her nerve, before her parents came home and caught her there.

This is the first sentence of my novel, The Blue Jar, that will be published in October by Plum Tree Books. We’ll see how it does.

8 thoughts on “That First

  1. Boy, I’d love to believe that I just need to get the first sentence right… Alas, there are all those sentences that come after!

    And like you, I have re-read my first sentences until they sound stupid. They say if you repeat a word a dozen times, it starts to sound meaningless. Exponentiate that for whole sentences.

    (Not 100% related: I recently came upon a site called something like The Page 69 Project. It seems to be based on the idea that you can evaluate a book based on its 69th page. Oh, wait, here it is: The Page 69 Test. That feels a little better to me — not so much pressure, and by then I’m well on the way to not being hyper-conscious of the writing.)

      • My experience teaching English is that repeating a word a dozen times does make it sound meaningless. Several times I’ve stood at the board staring at a common word and suddenly wondering if it really was a word at all. Sigh.

      • And I’m afraid of the page 69 test. And, hey, don’t they consider formatting. Page 69 isn’t always the same in every edition: hard cover, trade, mass market, e-version…

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