Monday, November 28, 2011

December 2011 - First Lines

by Susan Berger

I am visiting Kailua on Oahu and I spent a few hours at the library there gathering first lines.

This is not the Library 
Two of these lines are from nominees for the 2012 Nene award. The Nēnē Award is an annual award given by Hawai‘i’s children for the best children’s fiction book. Students in grades 4, 5 and 6 vote. Here is the link to this year's nominees.

I was delighted to see Carolyn Hennesy's book Pandora Gets Jealous on the list. Pen and Ink interviewed Carolyn earlier this year.

Ka'ula, a prospective Nene voter. 
Enjoy these lines and I will post answers and links to the books in a couple of weeks.

1) I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen. 

2) The hat in question was owned by Mrs. Constance Lovestock. Mrs. Lovestock was a woman of some years, even greater means and no children. She was not a woman who did things by half measures. Take her positions on swans. She thought them the most beautiful, graceful creatures in the world. 

3) "PLAY BALL!" called the home plate umpire of Ebbets Field. It was Major League Baseball's Opening Day - April 15, 1947. The Brooklyn Dodgers were playing the Boston Braves. 

4) It was one the most important moments in Nathaniel Fludd's young life and he was stuck sitting in the corner. 

A cautionary Tale by the Witch Fay Holaderry 
I love children. Eating them, that is. 

6) Ah Kee hummed as he carried his basket of guavas. Today was his birthday and Ma was taking him to the market. 

7) Maybe you know. The feeling of how junk it is when summer ends.

8) Around 5:00 a.m. on a warm summer morning in October, 1953, my Aunt Belle left her bed and vanished from the face of the earth.

9) Even as a little girl I had thought that the swamp was a magical place where new lives began and old lives ended, where enemies and heroes weren't always what one expected, and where anything could happen, even to a clumsy princess. 

10) There was once an old and somewhat wise woman whom everyone called Grandy. She’d just suffered a big loss in her life. Pops, her husband, suffered the same loss, but in his own way. This is the story of how Grandy faced her loss by setting out to make tear soup.


  1. Interesting exercise. A few of them didn't do much to draw me in.

    Books for Boys Blog

  2. Hi Susan,
    This kind of exercise is a good gauge for other writers to measure themselves by. Thanks.

  3. Hmmm. Some of those sound worth reading.

  4. Thank you for another great round-up of first lines, Susan. I think it motivated a breakthrough on the first line of a picture book manuscript I've been stumbling on for ages!

  5. Love this concept of 'First Lines.' You should archive all First Lines under a menu they are easily accessed, lines and answers.

  6. I've put together a word doc of all the links. Our brilliant, handsome Mexican in Residence will figure out how to get it on the site.

  7. I loved using Story Starters with my Creative Writing students. As I read each of these, my imagination soared! We would have had great fun with every single one! The books to which they belong must be absolutely wonderful!

  8. stay tuned. The answers for these books are coming next week. Also you may not a new tab at the top of our blog which contains all the first line posts.


We love hearing from you.