Thursday, July 30, 2009

Maybe on this occasion the whole first page...(even more updated than before)

Is the importance of the first line in a story overrated? After posting it yesterday, I wondered about the first line for my picture book Tatty and Tremble. Okay its a picture book - a completely different beast to novels, short stories etc...but where word economy is key and each word must work extra hard to do its job (or the job of many in other genre) is the first line any less or more important? What should a first line do? What is its job? What are our expectations? So here for your edification is the first paragraph/page that follows that spare enigmatic first line:-

Old Tatty. That’s what Mr. Edgar called her. She didn’t seem to mind. There was fresh fish on her plate everyday. He could have called her Smelly Pants as long as there was fish.

When I first included it in yesterday's post I suddenly thought there wasn't enough in those two short words but I've changed my mind. What did they make you think?

This whole exercise has been very thought provoking for me and I am still musing on the topic. But perhaps this is the antidote to my current 'first line' obsession - check out the results of the 2009 Bullwer-Lytton Contest - it certainly puts a whole different spin on the concept (heh).

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