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First Lines
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Mystery author Martin Edwards has been posting with great regularity at At Do You Write Under Your Own Name. You have to like someone who frequents the same anthologies Mary and I do and names books after Kinks songs. Today's entry is an interesting one about first lines:

I don’t think it’s true that a good opening sentence means that the book as a whole is bound to be equally effective. But it helps. There’s much to be said in favour of grabbing the reader’s attention, although this can be done with subtlety as well as with a shock. Over the years, authors as good – and as different from each other - as Dickens, Orwell, Camus and Daphne du Maurier have created memorable openings to memorable novels.

He goes on to give examples and then lists the first lines from his own novels.

I've always felt that too much emphasis is given to first lines and, as Martin points out, they aren't always necessary:

Mind you, some of the Golden Age detective novelists, including some of the best, seemed to work on the principle that the more mundane the opening, the better.

Well, there's our excuse for not so brilliant first lines. Mary and I have more of an affinity for Golden Age Detections!

Nevertheless, I was motivated to go and look up the first line from our next book, Seven For A Secret which is due out in April and, just to be fair, this is how it starts:

"For once, the girl in the wall mosaic, did not respond to the Lord Chamberlain's question."

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