Author: Ally Condie
Now that I’ve found the way to fly, which direction should I go into the night?
And they will change from ash and nothing into flesh and blood.
Kat’s Comments: I don’t normally comment on the opening and closing lines, for my Writing Inspirations feature, but today I felt obliged to.
The reason that I started putting up the opening and closing lines on this blog, was because I know how many of us writers struggle with that all important first line. It’s drummed into us, that you have to create an opening line that sinks it’s teeth firmly into the brain of the reader, and drags them in kicking and screaming. Many writers do this very well, whilst others are severely lacking. Some authors who create a superb opening line, then go on to write a rather mediocre novel, as it appears that they’re put all their effort into that one line, and nothing into the rest of the story. Whilst others succeed at creating a brilliant novel, but people unfortunately don’t make it past that first line. It’s a Catch-22 situation at times, that’s for sure. And no one will ever say that it’s an easy task to get both factors right.
Then there are authors, such as Ally Condie, who try far too hard to create an opening line that is smart/clever/arty or whatever, and it just comes across as clichéd, romanticised twaddle. As I mentioned before, many writers can get past this by writing a much better novel, Condie, on the other hand manages to convey what the rest of the book is like within those first lines perfectly. And for me, that is not a good thing. And of course, the closing line is just as flowery as the opener.
For me personally (and this is only my opinion), this is a perfect example of how not to do it.