So it’s been an interesting experience. I’ve been participating in the first line contest of over at Karin Tabke’s blog. I’ve done alright, it’s round six now. But I’ve learned an interesting and valuable lesson participating.
Usually I think more about the overall feeling of the first few paragraphs. Sometimes I use throwaway lines. They create a feeling in the overall read but they aren’t individually of profound importance. Having to look at every word to stay in the contest has made me consider every word at the beginning of everything I’m writing.
I got a request from one of those agents last week and for the first time I read my first page with an eye critical to each individual sentence rather than the feeling as a whole. It was an eye opening experience. I had Bria Quinlan look over every sentence with me and doing it made my first page considerably stronger, just by evaluating the importance of each sentence.
I couldn’t write an entire novel that way (though Bria probably could, I mean, come on.) But I can certain pay special attention to the first few pages. Editing for absolute impact rather than ambiance.
Has anyone ever done this before? Thought hard about what it would look like and say if each sentence was the only sentence people could see? It’s very interesting. You should try it and see what it tells you about your writing.