Thursday, September 15, 2011


What grabs your attention when you choose a book? It's been argued that the cover is most important, or the blurb alone determines whether you read it or not, or perhaps the first line, the first paragraph, or the first chapter.

Firsts. That's what it's all about--how to make a reader choose your book. For this little contest, I have chosen first lines from ten books written by author acquaintances. In other words, this list does not contain, "It was the best of times, it was..." You get the picture.

Want to take this poll? Read the ten lines and choose three you like best, or those you think would make you buy the book. Rank your three choices 1, 2, 3 using the letters...and tell me in a comment.

 If you want to take the time, tell me why your first choice caught your attention.After a couple of days, I'll determine the top three winners--and reveal the authors and the title of the book.

I'm using letters. List them in order of best first in your comment. Ready?

A-The front door slammed shut, silencing Lizzy's eighteenth birthday celebration.

B-"He has walled us in alive! Our own lord has abandoned us!"

C-Gideon entered his sister's crowded SoHo gallery in Manhattan and glanced at his watch.

D-"Reese, if you weren't dead, I swear I'd kill you!"

E-Her swift fingers rushed over the keys like a flood of water tumbling over a dam.

F-"Sorry you got shot, Cole. Damn, this is gonna mess up all our plans."

G-Dallas McClintock sprawled on the ground, three rifle barrels pointed at his chest.

H-'...but the other women my age have a lover.'

I-"Don't kill me! Please!"

J-Absorbed in her thoughts about Mark, the man who jilted her on what was to be her wedding day, she almost drove past the baby grand piano sitting out in the front yard of a little cottage.

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas


  1. E-because I love the imagery
    J-because it pulls me up short
    D-because it's intriguing

    I want to vote for another one, but I won't.

  2. F-Because I want to know who shot Cole and I need to know what those plans were.
    D-poses a mystery.
    B-raises questions.

  3. G - I can almost see Dallas sweating as he looks into those barrels bearing down on him.

    F - There is humor and the character sounds strong and determined.

    A - Why comes to mind - what has happened to stop a party?

  4. I have to go with
    G. Because I love the idea of a man in a tight spot.
    D. Who hasn't wanted to kill a man at some point. Did the speaker already kill him and wants a rerun?
    F. Who shot him? Why? And What plans did they screw up?

  5. Wow, I'm impressed with these I have so far. All your reasons are like little teaching moments.,Very good.
    More??? Celia

  6. F-Ironic. Interesting characters.
    D- Same
    B- it look like a good historical.

  7. G - Great visual image.
    F - Lots of suspense there.
    D - Made me smile AND want to know why.

    Fun game, Celia!

  8. I'll play along.

    F makes me want to keep reading
    D has snappy dialogue
    G really grabbed my attention


  9. Celia,thanks for using one of my books. I think. :-)
    I choose
    F. I want to know who shot Cole
    G. Of course I like this one
    D. Makes me smile.

  10. F- because it's funny and shouldn't be so it grabs my attention.
    B- is dramatic. It sounds like an historical with some great plot twist, intrigue and action--right up my alley.
    And I can't choose between D and G.
    D has to be a paranormal and again, I love the humor. And G sounds like the kind of western I'd love to see made into a movie. Someone's going to have to choose between those two for me. lol!

  11. I have to go with...

    D - I'm hoping it's about a vampire...and I LOVE vampires!

    G - Rifles are indicitive of cowboys and I LOVE cowboys as much as I love vampires!

    H - What woman doesn't want a lover? At any age!

  12. 1 - D Wow, wat is going on there?

    2 - I Can't help but feel the desperation.

    3 - H Definitely intriguing.

  13. I vote for G. That puts me right where the action is and I want to see how Dallas gets out of it.

  14. A would be my second choice, and F my third. Don't mind me...I was never good at following directions...

    So that puts me at G, A, F

    Great idea, Celia!

  15. WOW do I have to only pick three? LOL These are all intriguing and make me want to read more. But I confess, I DO want to know what happened to Cole. LOL What a great idea, Celia.

  16. D-a funny but action start
    F-right in the action
    G-right off , a predicament

  17. B- because Im a sucker for a historical
    E - because I'm a sucker for a lovely picture
    F - because it's intriguing.

    Awesome contest, Celia! Very creative and original!

  18. A - Who'd be that mean?
    H - So how old is she?
    J - Piano was the clincher.

  19. I liked B best because I wondered who the speaker's "lord" was. It made me think of who my Lord is.



    In that order. June

  20. A = It takes a lot to silence an 18th birthday party, so I want to know what happened.

    D = Makes me laugh and I know I'm in for a wild read with good characters.

    G = Uh oh, big trouble here! If this is the hero, I want to know how he managed to get out of this pickle.

    Thanks for including one of mine, Celia! Mwah!

  21. B - because of the immediate urgency--it draws me in, even though the subject matter might not be one I'd chose.
    D - for the same reason as above and because it's a terrific juxtaposed image
    G- for the imagery :)

  22. F why did Cole get shot, What were the ruined plans?

    D sounds like something i would say.

    G Why were there 3 rifles pointed at a man sprawled out on the ground.

  23. What a fun exercise! And educational (writing wise)

    D. I like the humour. Promises me a chic lit, I think. I love those.
    G. Begins at a pivotal point in the action. I like the visual predicament.
    B. Somewhat melodramatic but I'd read on because the story promises to be a historical thriller. I sense an Edgar Alan Poe style.

  24. They are all excellent first lines, but my favorites would have to be:
    1 - F
    2 - B
    3 - G
    because I'd just have to keep reading to find out what happens next!

  25. F-because it suggests a touch of irony
    D- suggests mystery
    E- good imagery

  26. F-ironic
    E-good imagery
    D-suggests mystery

  27. F--I see humor to come, and I love humor.
    D--Mysterious, intriguing
    G--I think, "Uh Oh!" and want to know more.

  28. Waves frantically. Celia, wait!
    May I change my first choice. I read too fast

    No. 1. F - I want to know exactly where Cole got shot and what the plans are that will be all messed up, and why? and who shot him? and why? Who is Cole? Who is the unsympathetic character speaking? Where are they? Will Cole get some medical attention? How bad is his injury?
    This first line sets up so many story questions, it could take an entire novel to discover the answers. A brilliant first line. :)