Share some of your favourite lines from your writing. How about some of your worst ones if you still remember them?
Opening and Closing Lines
You only get one chance to make a first impression. True. A good opening line, paragraph, or chapter is key to keeping a reader interested. You also have one chance to leave a lasting one. Will that closing line cause the reader to slowly shut the book and lay it down, or shake their head in disappointment.
A story is like a sandwich. You have your bread—the first and last page—and everything in the middle is either tasty (PBJ, BLT) or nasty (sardines, marmite). Wait—that’s a terrible analogy. Let’s start again.
A story is like a box of cho—Nope.
Anyway, Kurt Vonnegut wrote many great opening and closing lines. Unfortunately, I only have one paperback of his in my possession, and it’s not Slaughterhouse Five. Fortunately, I do have Breakfast of Champions, which has the distinction of the only book I know of where the author includes his drawing of an asshole (not a person, either).
He ends the books with the fictional character, Kilgore Trout—who just happens to be a sci-fi author—being released by the author who had created him. He screams out his final wish, which goes unheeded: “Make me young, make me young, make me young!”
The rest of the book is just as great.
This topic reminded me of a post I wrote about bad opening lines, but I couldn’t find it here. Why? Because I didn’t post it. I guess I have something for tomorrow.
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Leon Stevens is a multi-genre author, composer, guitarist, songwriter, and an artist, with a Bachelor of Music and Education. He published his first book of poetry, Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures in January 2020, followed by a book of original classical guitar compositions, Journeys, and a short story collection of science fiction/post-apocalyptic tales called The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. His newest publications are the novella trilogy, The View from Here, which is a continuation of one of his short stories, and a new collection of poetry titled, A Wonder of Words.
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