Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Guest Post: Meradeth Houston

The Starting Line

Thanks so much for hosting me today! Before I forget, I have a contest running for my blog tour—all commenter’s are entered into a drawing for two copies of my book, and one person will win a $25 giftcard to Amazon or Barnes & Noble. There are more details on my home blog, if you want to check it out!

Today I thought I’d talk a little about opening lines and paragraphs in books. For writers, they are so vitally important, and some say they can make or break your book. As someone who regularly browses books by reading the first page, I know this is the case! If I don’t really like the opening, it takes a lot to get me through the rest of the chapters, let alone spending money on it. Now, a first line doesn’t have to be magical and captivating, but it does have to draw me in. Some of my favorites include:

“It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die.” The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (so telling and so bleak. I am in love with Steifvater’s writing!).

“It was a dark and stormy night.” A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L’Engle (this opening has received a lot of flack, but I still love it. It’s a bit cliché, but because of that I want to read on!).

“Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling (it’s the “thank you very much” in this one that not only makes me want to laugh, but begs the question of why they’re so concerned about being normal).

“The first time, November 6 to be exact, I wake up at two a.m. with a tingling in my head like tiny fireflies dancing behind my eyes.” Unearthly by Cynthia Hand (I love the voice in this and the details of the date and fireflies).

These are just a few of many that I’ve loved. Do you have a favorite opening line? I’d love to hear it!

And just for fun, the opening of my novel, Colors Like Memories:

“I greeted his tombstone the way I always did—with a swift kick.”

A bit about the Colors Like Memories:

Julia has a secret: she killed the guy she loved. It was an accident—sort of.

Julia is a Sary, the soul of a child who died before taking her first breath. Without this 'breath of life' she and others like her must help those on the verge of suicide. It's a job Julia used to enjoy, until the accident that claimed her boyfriend’s life—an accident she knows was her fault. If living with the guilt weren't enough, she's now assigned to help a girl dealing with the loss of her mother, something Julia's not exactly the best role model for. If she can't figure out a way to help her, Julia's going to lose her position in the Sary, something she swore to her boyfriend would never happen.

Release date: May 11th 2012 from MuseItUp Publishing.

A bit about Meradeth Houston:

Meradeth’s never been a big fan of talking about herself, but if you really want to know, here are some random tidbits about her:

>She’s a Northern California girl. This generally means she talks too fast and use "like" a lot.
>When she’s not writing, she’s sequencing dead people’s DNA. For fun!
>She’s been writing since she was 11 years old. It's her hobby, her passion, and she’s so happy to get to share her work!
>If she could have a super-power, it would totally be flying. Which is a little strange, because she’s terrified of heights.!/MeradethHouston

If Colors Like Memories sounds like something you'd like to read you can buy it at Amazon or Muse It Up Publishing.


Karen said...

That is so true about opening lines. A great one can set your mood and get you excited for the story ahead.
I know I read a bad one the other day and I just set the book aside for two days before coming back to it. It wasn't really reflective of the quality of the overall book but it didn't make me want to dive in either.

P.S. Love your Bio too....."sequencing dead people’s DNA. For fun!" lol

Meradeth Houston said...

Thank you SO much for hosting me today! I hope you enjoy CLM, too :)

Sandy said...

I definitely agree about the importance of opening lines and first pages. If a book cover and synopsis isn't enough for me to decide to read a book then I turn to that first page and see if that will convince me, whether it be right there in the store with the book in my hand or online reading an excerpt.

Here is not the first sentence but it is on the first page of chapter one of a favourite book.

"The falling snow and the early hour conspired to paint Prague ghostly, like a tintype photograph, all silver and haze." - Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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