Wednesday, July 29, 2009

First lines and dangling carrots...

Saw an interesting meme on Lili Wilkinson's (young australian author) blog t'other day and thought I'd give it a go. Its all about first lines from your own writing. So here goes:

Clever Moo (PB) - Margaret was not like her best friends, Daisy and Bossy

The Were-Nana (PB) - For Stella Rosa's older brother Simon, there was no better fun than scaring his sister

Jack the Viking (novel) - "Ready Jack?" asks a blond boy my age, carrying a sword and shield.

The Gift (ss) - Everyone says I talk too much.

Unpub'd but completed Work
Pirate Eye (junior chapter book) - "What's wrong with you?" the big boy at the school gate asked.

The House That Went to Sea (PB) - Granny Gale's house smelt of fish, and rocked with the booming of the waves.

Jack the Viking: Magnetic North (novel) - I don't dream so much anymore.

The story I'm working on now begins with the first line of an essay the main character is writing for school which I quite like - Apparently my older sister Michelle was perfect.

I found it a fascinating exercise with slightly surprising results. What do you think? The new picture book I just finished has my shortest first line ever - Old Tatty. I guess if it gets picked up an editor might have something to say about the punctuation of my first few lines and that first sentence will get longer. I have a bunch of short stories pub'd and unpub'd I haven't included in this exercise. Maybe I'll do them another day. I'm now up to ten short stories either pub'd or signed up for publication. If I can increase that number just a wee bit more I might start dreaming about assembling a collection one day.

I have other dreams for my writing including: to be published overseas (especially in a different language) and to (be paid to) travel overseas for my books. One of the blogs i check out regularly had a very interesting snippet of information in it the other day. Moon Rat (who hangs out at Editorial Ass) talked of a children's novel that took 5 years to find a publisher and the first print run was a miniscule 1,000 copies. I would love to have me a copy from that first print run today - it would be worth a wee bit. Go check out the book she's talking about. It shows that you have to hang in there and believe in your work even when things seem to be going badly, although things don't always turn out as well as this has :) I need to hear this kind of stuff as I have been grumpy about recent events and feasting on far too many crabby patties lately. Sorry to the two workmen working next door who got a terse comment or two from me yesterday when i asked them to move their van from my driveway so I could go out. I am finishing up (at LONG last) the rocket-science-like university assignment I have been working on since Adam was a boy and trying to finish up my current WIP which is going okay but which I am now having enormous doubts over. Too late I guess, to wonder if its saleable - less then 10,000 words to go (although thats to the end of the first draft only). But these two things are not filling me with joy - they are filling me with huffing and puffing, sweating brow grumpiness. I need a carrot dangling. The overseas trip we are planning is too far away to perform this function so I will have to find something else.


maureen said...

HI Melinda,
It is interesting how the first lines have gone...makes me want to go and check out my stuff now..:)
Thanks for the link to Editorial Ass there are some great marketing tips on there...word of mouth is definitely important...I picked up HP and the philosophers stone after a couple of comments by some british school teachers on an online forum in 98. I read it to my class...halfway through at least ten kids had their own copies and the rest of the senior school teachers were lining up to read the book next...all from word of mouth...

good luck with the assignments

Fifi Colston said...

I did a writers visit in Seddon on Friday and the kids had all been reading Janie Olive so they and the teachers were really excited about Glory. By the time my trip ended, the DP had bought up the two copies in Paper Plus that had arrived that day and put in an order for more. Nothing like going and selling your work yourself! So here's hoping that word of mouth may spread...