One of the things that was emphasized in one of my classes was the importance of a strong beginning to a novel. I’d heard it before, but they really drilled it home in that class. They shared that you, as a writer, have 100 words to hook your reader. It really helped drill home how important that opening moment can be.
One book that I think demonstrates great use of these opening moments is Camy Tang’s recent Love Inspired Suspense book entitled Deadly Intent.
Deadly Intent is the story of a young woman who must fight to save her family business and prove she’s not a murderer, and work to stay alive. As she searches for the murderer and tries to prove her innocence she starts to fall in love with the victim’s ex-husband, a man also interested in solving the crime.
There are strong opening lines throughout this whole novel, not just at the opening. Many great first lines are at the beginning of other chapters and sometimes just after line breaks. These great lines serve to pull the reader even farther into the novel.
A few examples of the great opening lines are:
“The man who walked into Naomi’s father’s day spa was striking enough to start a female riot,” (7) – The first line of the novel
“Naomi had never seen someone die before,” (20) – The opening of chapter 3
“Naomi knocked on the hotel room door of a possible murderer, while Devon stood at her side,” (84) – First line after a line break
“How she wanted normal,” (131) – First line after a line break. This one was also a great line because the line before the break was: “’This might be the lead the police have been waiting for… Then my life can go back to normal’”
“’None of this adds up.’ Naomi bit into a slice of cheese as she surveyed the wonderful view,” (151) – The opening to chapter 14. How wonderfully discordant is that? They contrast between the wonderful view and trying to solve a murder.
“Devon held Naomi as if his arms were the only thing keeping her from shattering. Maybe it was true,” (154) – First line after a line break. It’s two sentences, but I think it counts as just one line
“Naomi fell asleep over the background checks, and woke up just as the sun cascaded through her window into her bedroom,” (179) – The first line of chapter 17. This is another great discordant line, the contrast between the warm sun in the bedroom and the background checks.
These are not the only good lines, first lines or otherwise, but these were some of my favorite examples. And the great first lines are not the only reason to read this book, because it also has a great plot and interesting characters.
Because Love Inspired Suspense books are only published for a short time, you might not be able to find this book in your local bookstore for long, but you probably can find it on Paperback Swap.
Tang, Camy. Deadly Intent. New York: Steeple Hill Books, 2009.