March 09, 2012

The Very First Sentence

She didn’t think twice when she plunged the knife into his chest. The blade sliced through his heart, and he fell to the ground with a thud. She was cemented to the spot, panting for breath that her fear kept stealing from her lungs. 
When he didn’t move, she realized he was dead, and she wiped the bloody knife on the skirt of her pale blue dress, staining it red. Her tiny hands shook as she hid the knife beneath a loose floorboard. Then she stood over him and felt relief flood through her three-foot-tall body. 
Surely, no one would convict a five-year-old girl of murder...
I will let your mind run wild as you try to figure out whom the little girl killed and why. The main purpose of this teaser is to demonstrate how the first sentence is the most important sentence in a story.

The first sentence is the hook. It has to grab the reader by the throat, brain and sometimes even the heart, and threaten to never let go.

You don’t want to start a story with: "It was a dark and stormy night." (Sorry, Snoopy.)

Instead, you want to start a story with: Fierce wind pitched shards of hail into the windows as a diminishing flash of lightning cast the entire house into total darkness. (Of course, this may not be your style, but I hope you see the difference.)

The moment you finish brainstorming the plot of your novel (or even if you just have the beginning) grab your determination, because you are ready to write! 

Whatever your story is about, and however it begins, make the first sentence engaging. It doesn’t even need to be long. It could consist of just a few words like, “She is dead,” and be equally amazing.

The first sentence of Hurricane Crimes is: She was going to die.

QUESTION: How would you re-write (in one sentence): “It was a dark and stormy night."


  1. Chrys Thanks for all the inspiration. My time is not yet but you give me something to think about. lol Keep up the bloggs I love reading them. You're very talented. Betty

  2. :O The beginning of this blog is just... wow! I'd love to read more!