"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."
Updated: Jan 25
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!