Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Top Ten

I'm a member of the "Tenners", which is a group of writers that have their debut YA novel coming out in 2010. Each week, one of us writes a "Top Ten" list on pretty much anything we want. My post yesterday was: Top Ten First Lines (in MG and YA). Here's the post, because it was a lot of fun:

I'm a sucker for a great first line, although what makes a great first line varies. For me, a great first line makes you think, makes you laugh, makes you want to read more and/or can sum up the tone and subject of the book just like that (she says, snapping her fingers). This list is a little limited by books I had lying around the house, or those I could look up and read the first page of on Amazon, so you may well have your own. I have left off a few of the more obvious first lines that, while great, have been done to death ("Where's Papa going with that ax?"). I'm still looking for some great first lines of my own.

1. "There was a hand in the darkness and it held a knife." The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman.

2. "I have been accused of being anal retentive, an overachiever, and a compulsive perfectionist like those are bad things." Millicent Min, Girl Genius, Lisa Yee.

3. "When the doorbell rings at three in the morning, it's never good news." Stormbreaker, Anthony Horowitz.

4. "We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck." Feed, M.T. Anderson.

5. "There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it." The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C.S. Lewis.

6. "Claudia knew that she could never pull off the old-fashioned kind of running away." From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, E.L. Konigsburg.

7. "It is my first morning of high school. I have seven new notebooks, a skirt I hate and a stomachache." Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson. (Yes that's actually two lines - I cheated.)

8. "After midnight, the apartment waited, still in the moonlight and the heat." The Spell Book of Listen Taylor, Jaclyn Moriarty.

9. "The week before I left my family and Florida and the rest of my minor life to go to boarding school in Alabama, my mother insisted on throwing me a going away party." Looking for Alaska, John Green.

10. "When my brother Fish turned thirteen, we moved to the deepest part of inland because of the hurricane and, of course, the fact that he'd caused it." Savvy, Ingrid Law.

Several of the tenners have chimed in with their own top first lines. Check out the whole thread at the Tenners on LiveJournal.

On this date: In 1959, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and "The Big Bopper" are killed in a small plane crash.

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