The First Sentence: Why It Matters Where the Crowbar Lies

January 23, 2017



Agents and editors have told me when they review a manuscript they read the first sentence only. If their curiosity is peaked, they will then read the first paragraph, the first page, the first chapter. If their curiosity is not peaked, the manuscript goes in the slush pile.


In today's technology age where we, the reading public, have access to a zillion books in Barnes & Noble, Kindle, and elsewhere, we are forced to be equally as fastidious. 


Clearly, for an author who wants their works read, the first sentence matters!


So, I thought it would be fun to send you a first sentence I've kept with me for six years, ever since I was inspired by some photos I'd taken for a photography class. I haven't been willing to throw it out:


Seven years and she still hated him. Only the music,
louder than the devil, kept her tied to the bar, away
from him and the crowbar sitting on the back seat of her pickup.


What do you think? Would you read on?



I’m always on the hunt for a first sentence! Got any you wanna share? ;-)

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Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, writer and editor. The story is in the writing. May you enjoy and rise boldly.

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