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"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."

Updated: Feb 1

A novel's opening line. I've never been happy with mine. And so I've been reworking the opening scene to make it better. How do I improve it? Well, I've been looking at those well-known great first lines.

Many of you have probably heard the opening quote, but do you what novel it's from? It's the opening line of the Charles Dickens' novel, A Tale of Two Cities. The actual sentence is LONG--119 words long, to be exact. Either way, it's brilliant.

But what makes a first line brilliant? A number of things:

Immediate conflict; universality; juxtaposition of words; imagery; introduction of mood; setting of a framework.

There are others.

I look at the protagonist in my novel and think that he could probably relate well to this opening contrast of emotion.

Best of times: international travel to an exotic country, so different from his own

Worst of times: past pain and inner turmoil he can't seem to get away from

I think about my journey as the author of this novel.

Best of times: right now, on the cusp of fulfilling a dream--getting a novel published

Worst of times: more edits, the learning curve in book marketing, and putting myself"out there," in my novel, to be critiqued

I guess I really do have something in common with my protagonist. Hopefully the journey we're on has a happy ending--for the both of us!


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