Tony Fallow has a sticky problem! Find out why it’s not always so great when The World Revolves Around You!

"I make things for people who like the kinds of things I make."
Author | Creator | Consultant

The invitation was a trap.

I haven’t written a word of Light of the Outsider for about a week and a half.

Now, don’t get upset with me. I have my reasons. Let me share.

When I write — I mean, when I’m in the actual act of hitting keys on the keyboard and watching them turn into symbols on a screen — I have to enjoy what I’m seeing. In other words, I have to enjoy the experience of reading as much as the act of writing.

If I’m not writing a book I’d like to read, well, y’know… what’s the point?

It struck me that I would be bored stiff reading the first few thousand words of Light of the Outsider as it currently exists.

Yeah, sure, some folks would say (Mur) “Your first draft is allowed to suck.” It may yet. But I have to be engaged as a reader, suckage or no, while I’m writing. And I just haven’t been!

So. I gave myself a little head-space. Spent the time doing anti-writing: I’ve been learning to program in Liberty Basic, which is just about 180 creative degrees from writing fiction. Absolutely gave me the mental break necessary.

One of the things I realized: I need a kick-ass, make-you-keep-reading first line. To give you an idea of what I mean, here are some examples from works of mine that I think work:

Sick of the fetid jungle, sick of the cloying rain, and sick at heart, Scor Morlyn came at last to the village.

Glenn calls me at home, says Jennie’s in a state, that she’s really done this time, really gonna do it.

I agreed to help because of Crystal.

What made me look?

Lifter has a trick he likes to pull whenever we go into a new bar.

It began, as always, with Gaby’s picture.

And of course…

I was used to eating alone.

A first sentence should introduce questions, set tone, paint a picture…

A first sentence should rock… it should grab you, drag your eyes on to the next sentence, and the next paragraph, and the next page, and pretty soon you’ve read half the book and now you’d better take it to the cashier and buy that puppy, ’cause you went and creased the spine.

Here’s my absolute favorite first sentence from other people’s work:

The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.

Tell me you can’t close your eyes, tilt your head back, and see that! It’s a benchmark for me, one that I know I haven’t yet hit.

Light of the Outsider didn’t have a kick-ass first sentence, until I let things percolate this last week or so. And now, I think I’m pretty happy with this one:

The invitation was a trap.

I’ve got a first sentence, and as the writer and the reader of this book, it makes me want to keep going.

So I will. Minus the 4,000 words I’ve laid down so far, since they just don’t sing for me. The rule is, get in late and leave early. Those first 4K get in so damn early, the folding chairs are still in a corner and the tables are bare. So I’m starting with my Sentence, and I’ll hit the ground running.

Just wanted to let you know what’s been up with the writing.

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  • In my previous comment when I use the word “you” I am referring to the character, not you the author.

    Just qualifying my remarks.


  • A

    Perfect! Some confirmation that the first line is a good one!

  • Well, you got my attention with your first line…”The invitation was a trap.”

    I want to know why?
    What invitation?
    Invitation from whom, to where?
    What happened to tell you it was a trap?
    Are you alright?

    I know, I know, now I must wait for your book to be published. I will wait impatiently but with the knowledge that your book will be well worth that wait.


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