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Thursday, February 17, 2011

More Author Insight: The First Sentence

  What has been the most memorable moment on your road to publication other that the actual book deal?

"Sorry, but you'll have to wait until 2012 to find that out!" - Lauren Destefano, author of Wither. 

 "'Simon lay in the tepid bathwater with only his nose and lips above the surface, his arms folded over his chest and his black hair floating around his head like silky tentacles.' Simon is a different character than Ollie.  He's still a little awkward and obsessed with the things teenage boys are obsessed about, but he's more introspective. When you meet Ollie in The Deathday Letter, he's interested in one thing and one thing only. Simon, on the other hand, has bigger problems than his mother catching him wanking. But they're both funny guys in their way." - Shaun David Hutchinson, author of The Deathday Letter.

"'I'd always welcomed war, but in battle my passion rose unbidden.' In the first draft I had some description of scenery before this scene, which I ended up cutting and jumping right into the action." - Andrea Cremer, author of Nightshade

"From Rage: 'The day Melissa Miller killed her cat, she met the angel of death.' Same sentence from draft to published novel." - Jackie Kessler, author of Rage

"'In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees.' This is exactly the way it read from the first time I wrote it, one of the few sentences that was left untouched in revision." - Cynthia Hand, author of Unearthly.

"Here’s the first line from my NANO project, Rogues Gallery, a YA superhero tale told through the POV of four young villains:

'Scarlet smokes Cherry Colt cigars - she smokes them because they’re skinny, and sexy, and smell like sin.'

This story is a huge departure for me – it’s not paranormal/urban fantasy, it’s told in third person / present tense, not first person / past tense. I also have four narrators to contend with – but I’m enjoying the challenge."- Judith Graves, author of Under My Skin.

"Most recent: 'The trick to getting through the first day at a new school is easy: Don’t screw up.'  Original: 'Prayer candles flicker in my bedroom.' Notice the itty bitty voice difference there? Yeah, me too. I call it “career suicide” 'diversifying.'" - Rae Carson, author of The Girl of Fire and Thorns.

"The opening sentence is 'There is one mirror in my house,' which is the same as the original first sentence. I did tweak it once or twice while revising, but always changed it back." - Veronica Roth, author of  Divergent


"I can't tell you what the sentence is now because it would give too much away (a sequel). But the original sentence was, 'Do you always have that much trouble keeping your sword sheathed?'" - Myra McEntire, author of Hourglass.

"The book I'm working on now, due out in 2012, starts, 'Looking back, none of this would've ever happened if I'd remembered lip gloss.' that 's always been the first line, so no change!" - Rachel Hawkins, author of Demonglass

"'My name is not Mara Dyer, but my lawyer told me I had to choose something.' That’s the first sentence of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, which is due to hit shelves Fall 2011. I’m writing the sequel now, but can’t share that first sentence because a) it’s spoilery and b) my editor hasn’t even read it yet :)." - Michelle Hodkin, author of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.

"'How can you not be excited?' It's pretty much the same from the original one. The first chapter didn't change that much from the original. Subsequent chapters changed a lot!" - Sarah Darer Littman, author of Life, After.

 "Bamboo People (Charlesbridge, July 2010). Current opening sentence: 'Teachers wanted.' Original opening sentence: 'The soldiers set fire to the bamboo in our village.'" - Mitali Perkins, author of Bamboo People.

"'Fancy only allowed three people in the whole world to get close to her: Daddy, who was on death row; Madda, who was working the graveyard shift; and Kit, who was dead to the world in the bed next to hers.' Slice of Cherry.

The original sentence was just Fancy waking up--kinda boring." - Dia Reeves, author of

"The opening sentence of my new YA novel Back When You Were Easier to Love—out April 28th—is:  'Over the summer my best friend, Mattia, and I were the token teenage patrons of Haven Public Library.'  This is actually the same as in the first draft, except the name of the town is different than the original."- Emily Wing Smith, author of The Way He Lived.

"From Desires of the Dead: 'Violet leaned forward on her hands and knees over the frozen landscape.'

The original line (and completely different scene) was: 'Violet was sitting outside, watching her little cousin Joshua working diligently despite the freezing temperatures.'" - Kimberly Derting, author of Desires of the Dead.

"'I'd never thought too much about friendship before I'd come to Winterhaven, mostly because I hadn't had many friends.'" - Kristi Cook, author of Haven.

"The opening sentence of The Snowball Effect is: 'I wouldn’t say I’d been worried about Mom, but I’d known for awhile that things were bad.'  For a long time the first sentence was, 'I can tell you everything you need to know about the people in my family just by letting you know how they died.'  The gist of that sentence made its way into my query letter instead, and later the cover copy." - Holly Hoxter, author of The Snowball Effect.

Find out Tuesday if the authors believe that a book can change your life and if it has ever happened to them!

1 comment:

  1. I love to see how the original opening changes through revisions. Thanks for the post!