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Leslie

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No plot? Not sure about GMC? Characters have not character?
Tap into the SavvyHiveMind and get some help!
Post your conundrum in the Brainstorming Corner as a new thread and we will try to help!
 
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Leslie

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Yeah, I know what you mean. I have written and rewritten first sentences and still hate them. @Dawn_McClure and I have had a lot of conversations about how important they are. She is of the opinion that you have to start in the "normal world" so that means the first couple of pages are setting the stage, where I go for the BIG WHAM. Now Dawn actually has books published and sells them while I am, well, still working on that.

I can tell you as a reader that I have never stopped because the first sentence was not memorable. And I read A LOT. If I am going to pitch a book in the dustbin, it's because it gets lost about midway. The book I am reading right now is one of those, the first chapters were great but then it's wandered off, and totally lost any motivation or plot. (The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers Book 1) by Becky Chambers). Fabulous premise, funny set of quirky characters and a good first chapter but man is it lagging.

I just reviewed the first line of the last three books I read. None of them were in any way memorable.

Hmmm

So IDK ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Maybe that epic first line is really not necessary.

YMMV
 
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So why can't I write the first sentence? You know the one that takes you to the second sentence? For some reason I can write the next 3 thousand sentences but the first one sucks. What should I do? I want an amazing sentence so the reader will continue reading my almost done book.

Sue, I would tell my students not to worry about that first sentence until they finished the paper, or in this case your story. Writing is really about the rewriting, the editing that follows once the project has been completed. Too often, we get stuck on wanting to rewrite rather than adding new words and finishing! The amazing sentence will come. Be paitient. If you really want to keep trying to rewrite that first sentence, I suggest you create a space after that first sentence where you can just write new first sentences. Don't delete anything, don't edit them. Just write it, hit enter, try again. Leave them and continue writing the story. Eventually, you'll come back to your different tries and discover that first sentence is there, a mixture of different pieces and parts.
 
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Leslie

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Thanks for that, Diana! I like that method of just keep adding new first sentences that is brilliant. It let's you scratch that edit itch and not lose anything. I also wonder if it would be a log of your changing ideas about what the theme of the book is? For me, the book themes can shift as I write. So if I am 1/2 through a book and think about what the first sentence or paragraph needs to convey it can differ from what I thought when I was just starting out. @Sue McCallum nailed it on this one!
 
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Leslie

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Great! Glad that it's helping!
:-D
 
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I never worry about first lines because it's all a process and it changes and evolves. I like Diana's idea though. If you use Word to write, I suggest creating STYLES, and you could apply one called "first lines" to easily find any that may go astray. I also create one called SCENE -- whereby I can separate scenes within chapters (with auto numbers, of course to easiy count my scenes). Also include Headings to automatically generate table of contents, of course. You can use the FIND feature to jump from style-to-style content easily. (i.e., find all styles called HEADING 2 -- which might be your chapter headings).
 
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Leslie

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Yeah, I like the STYLES idea, too. I use Scrivener and you can do that with Scrivener as well. I think. Have to check on that but since you can apply styles I am pretty sure this would work.
 
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Leslie

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Sure! So in Word you can create a specific style, for example maybe I want one that I call Problematic Passages. I go to Word's Format:Style:New Style and that brings up the following modal dialog.
I change the style to be whatever I want:

1630850181589.png

Then when i am writing and I come across a problem passage, I select it and apply my custome style above. Since I added it to my Template and Quick Style list it comes up in that panel.
1630850065458.png

This works in a similar manner in Scrivener.
 

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Mona

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So why can't I write the first sentence? You know the one that takes you to the second sentence? For some reason I can write the next 3 thousand sentences but the first one sucks. What should I do? I want an amazing sentence so the reader will continue reading my almost done book.
Thanks.
You could post your opening line here and let everyone help you with it. Their suggestions might trigger just what you're looking for.
 
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