Opening Lines: The Bastard Boys of Montezuma by Jaromy Henry

This is the blog where we dissect the opening sentences of popular works of fiction. Few people outside of the writing community know how much blood, sweat, and tears go into crafting the perfect Opening Line; and for that reason, I want to bring attention to the incredible work that a writer puts into these first few words. Today we will examine my very own novel, The Bastard Boys of Montezuma.

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First let’s take a look at the blurb:

Cash Holliday and Marshall Earp are the illegitimate sons of the most notorious gunslingers in the West. Despite a lingering bad economy in 1896, the two operate a flourishing detective agency, largely thanks to selective partnerships.

When Sheriff Kristof Varga hands Marshall a bounty for the infamous Cactus Kid, they realize their business could change overnight. But Cash receives a letter stating some of his late father’s possessions are in Tombstone and he becomes interested in a different pursuit. Faced with lying to his best friend, crazy superstitions, a girl with a mysterious past, and a Pinkerton agent who is hot on their trail, Cash must decide if he’s willing to risk their lives for the secrets of a father he never knew.

This was such a fun book to write. Challenging, but fun. It took a lot of research to accurately write about the 1800s, but boy was it interesting.

Let’s examine my Opening Line:

“Across the street, I counted six crows perched on the rooftop of the funeral home, which was as ironic as it was prophetic.”

What do you think? Do you like it? Here’s what I hoped to accomplish with this line.

“Across the street, I counted six crows perched on the rooftop of the funeral home…”

I give an eerie location and an even eerier sight to catch the reader’s attention.

“which was as ironic as it was prophetic.”

Then I hit you with this statement, which I hope makes you ask the following questions:

Why is it ironic to see six crows sitting on the rooftop of a funeral home?

What is the significance of crows? Six in particular.

And finally, why is this sight prophetic? Does it have to do with the site, the funeral home, and alluding to death?

If you want to find out, click the Barnes & Noble link.

Opening Lines: Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero

This is the blog where we dissect the opening sentences of popular works of fiction. Few people outside of the writing community know how much blood, sweat, and tears go into crafting the perfect Opening Line; and for that reason, I want to bring attention to the incredible work that a writer puts into these first few words. Today we will examine Edgar Cantero’s Meddling Kids.

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First let’s take a look at the blurb:

SUMMER 1977. The Blyton Summer Detective Club (of Blyton Hills, a small mining town in Oregon’s Zoinx River Valley) solved their final mystery and unmasked the elusive Sleepy Lake monster—another low-life fortune hunter trying to get his dirty hands on the legendary riches hidden in Deboën Mansion. And he would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids.

1990. The former detectives have grown up and apart, each haunted by disturbing memories of their final night in the old haunted house. There are too many strange, half-remembered encounters and events that cannot be dismissed or explained away by a guy in a mask. And Andy, the once intrepid tomboy now wanted in two states, is tired of running from her demons. She needs answers. To find them she will need Kerri, the one-time kid genius and budding biologist, now drinking her ghosts away in New York with Tim, an excitable Weimaraner descended from the original canine member of the club. They will also have to get Nate, the horror nerd currently residing in an asylum in Arkham, Massachusetts. Luckily Nate has not lost contact with Peter, the handsome jock turned movie star who was once their team leader . . . which is remarkable, considering Peter has been dead for years.

The time has come to get the team back together, face their fears, and find out what actually happened all those years ago at Sleepy Lake. It’s their only chance to end the nightmares and, perhaps, save the world.

First, let me say this, I love the idea of this book: Scooby Doo meets Lovecraft. Basically, if Fred committed suicide, Velma went on to become an alcoholic as opposed to an astrophysicist, Daffney was a tomboy kicked out of the army for aggression issues, and Shaggy was institutionalized for psychiatric problems and hallucinations, these would be the grownup characters of Meddling Kids. And yes, Dead Fred is a character thanks to Hallucinating Shaggy.

Now let’s examine the Opening Line:

“It starts when you pull the lamp chain and light doesn’t come.”

We’ll dissect this short sentence to get the most out of it.

“It starts…”

What starts? Maybe it’s the ceiling fan, but from the rest of the sentence and knowing what we know from the blurb, it seems like something much darker.

“…when you pull the chain and light doesn’t come.”

Ooh! Now we have something to add. While a ceiling fan is capable of turning on by one chain and adding light from another, somehow I believe this is referencing something sinister that maybe happens only in the middle of a nightmare.

But what is it? What’s happening?

If you want to know, click the Barnes & Noble link.

 

 

 

Opening Lines: Girl at War by Sara Nović

This is the blog where we dissect the opening sentences of popular works of fiction. Few people outside of the writing community know how much blood, sweat, and tears go into crafting the perfect Opening Line; and for that reason, I want to bring attention to the incredible work that a writer puts into these first few words. Today we will examine Sara Novic’s Girl at War.

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First, let’s look at the blurb:

Zagreb, 1991. Ana Jurić is a carefree ten-year-old, living with her family in a small apartment in Croatia’s capital. But that year, civil war breaks out across Yugoslavia, splintering Ana’s idyllic childhood. Daily life is altered by food rations and air raid drills, and soccer matches are replaced by sniper fire. Neighbors grow suspicious of one another, and Ana’s sense of safety starts to fray. When the war arrives at her doorstep, Ana must find her way in a dangerous world.
New York, 2001. Ana is now a college student in Manhattan. Though she’s tried to move on from her past, she can’t escape her memories of war—secrets she keeps even from those closest to her. Haunted by the events that forever changed her family, Ana returns to Croatia after a decade away, hoping to make peace with the place she once called home. As she faces her ghosts, she must come to terms with her country’s difficult history and the events that interrupted her childhood years before.

Now, let’s examine her Opening Line:

“The war in Zagreb began over a pack of cigarettes.”

Yet another hilarious opening line that uses irony to grab the reader’s attention.

It’s a short line, but there are a few things here that make it a great opener.

First, we have the Narrator’s voice. It’s just a funny line.

Then, we have the line itself. A war in Zagreb was started over a pack of cigarettes.

What kind of war was it? There’s a movie called War of the Roses which describes the war/battle between a couple going through a bitter divorce trying to get their spouse to leave their shared home.

Sure, we know the blurb talks about a civil war in Yugoslavia, but is this the same war that started over a pack of cigarettes, or is there a war within the war?

You can’t read that line and not want to find out how a war started over something as stupid as a pack of cigarettes.

If you want to find out exactly what happened during the war, click the Barnes & Noble link.

Opening Lines: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

This is the blog where we dissect the opening sentences of popular works of fiction. Few people outside of the writing community know how much blood, sweat, and tears go into crafting the perfect Opening Line; and for that reason, I want to bring attention to the incredible work that a writer puts into these first few words. Today we will examine Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

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First, let’s look at the blurb:

As the Bennets prepare their five grown daughters to enter into society, each shows personality traits that illuminate their future prospects as wives. Jane, the oldest, is the most demure and traditional, and Lydia, the youngest, the most headstrong and impulsive. Attention centers on haughty second-born Elizabeth, and her blossoming relationship with the dashing but aloof Fitzwilliam Darcy. Adversaries at first in the endless rounds of balls, parties, and social gatherings, they soon develop a grudging respect for one another that blossoms into romance when each comes to appreciate the tender feelings that course beneath the veneer of their propriety and reserve. 

Now, let’s examine the Opening Line:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

This is another example where the author’s voice makes us want to read more and learn more about what’s going on. (Refer to Opening Lines: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis.)

Let’s break this down.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged…”

This is obviously something that has been proved true–many times over–that it is now considered to be fact.

“…that a single man in possession of a good fortune…”

Now we know this “truth” concerns single, wealthy men.

“…must be in want of a wife.”

Since this wealthy man is rich and single, he must be in want of a wife.

This is a great line because this “truth” is obviously an opinion, but the voice of the narrator compels us to find out why they believe this.

We want to find out who this person is that considers this universally acknowledged statement as fact. Why do they believe this? Is it because they know this man? Do they know other wealthy men that were single and in want of wives? And what is to come of this single, wealthy man that we know we’ll soon be reading out.

If you want to find out about this mystery man and see if there was any truth to this statement, click on the Barnes & Noble link.

Opening Lines: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

This is the blog where we dissect the opening sentences of popular works of fiction. Few people outside of the writing community know how much blood, sweat, and tears go into crafting the perfect Opening Line; and for that reason, I want to bring attention to the incredible work that a writer puts into these first few words. Today we will examine C.SLewis’ The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

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First, let’s look at the blurb:

Narnia…the world of wicked dragons and magic spells, where the very best is brought out of even the worst people, where anything can happen (and most often does)…and where the adventure begins. The Dawn Treader is the first ship Narnia has seen in centuries. King Caspian has built it for his voyage to find the seven lords, good men whom his evil uncle Mizaz banished when he usurped the throne. The journey takes Edmund, Lucy, and their cousin Eustace to the Eastern Islands, beyond the Silver Sea, toward Aslan’s country at the End of the World.

Now let’s examine the Opening Line:

“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know that I say a writer needs to make the reader ask questions–based on this opening sentence–so that they will continue to read the story.

I will add, sometimes, the author’s voice can be a great driving force to keep the reader going, with or without those questions.

In this opener, C.S. Lewis infuses enough humor to make us wonder, who is Eustace Clarence Scrubb?

Obviously, this name is so bad that when Lewis adds, “he almost deserved it,” he is implying that Eustace himself is also bad.

While this line is humorous, we still ask ourselves, “What was so bad about Eustace Clarence Scrubb that he almost deserved this horrible name?

If you want to find out, click on the Barnes & Noble link.