Opening Sentence Anyone?

Recently the Rubies did a post on the importance of openings and sponsored a first line contest.  The entries were many (we reached the max of 100 entries) and varied in tone and genre, giving us quite the time chosing the finalists and winners.  You can find who won and placed—with their expanded entries—here.

 Also recently, I promised the prequel to my series.  With the importance of openings in mind, I’ve written the opening scene three times and deleted it twice.  So, just for giggles and grins, I’m going to give you the opening line of the current incarnation—which is, of course, subject to change; I’m still not satisfied with the tone.  I am, however, interested in your opinions, both good and bad so don’t be shy.  Let me know what you think.

Within Glastonbury Tor, 542 A. D.

Heat snaked beneath his skin, writhed and slithered straight to his groin, rousing his usually disinterested phallus to painful rigidity.


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13 responses to “Opening Sentence Anyone?

  1. I absolutely loved it, right up until the last gerund phrase. With an erection in the first sentence, I would be expecting an in-your-face erotic romance. I would strike those last eight words to make the feeling of arousal the focus, rather than the hard-on. Though I may also be reacting because the word “phallus” is a personal turn-off of mine. And it’s very possible that the second sentence would give it an entirely different feel. So hard to go by so little! But the snaking, slithering and writhing is very evocative. Lovely.

  2. Thank you, Vivi. Evocative, yes. Unwelcome? Definitely—unless someone is into reptiles.

    That last phrase is the clue it’s not an erotic romance–which is why I chose phallus instead of something more earthy. It’s not a romance at all, truth be told; no HEA for these two (which is why, even when it’s complete, it will appear nowhere but on this blog). Still, love lived here once, and that love has a great deal of impact on events that will drive my characters nearly a thousand years later.

    Thanks for weighing in, Vivi. I appreciate it.

    • Gwyn, the word phallus doesn’t bother me. I agree with Vivi, what do you wish to imply by your opening sentence. Is it an erotic historical? Then you achieved your mark. That might be a great third or four sentence or even a hook where you change POV. Just typing out loud. But Vivi’s right, the writing is vivid!

      • No, not erotic at all, Donnell—at least, not now. Knowing the two characters as I do, I imagine their interactions, on every level, were quite unique. However, in this sad aftermath, there is no sex at all—although the attraction between them remains electric, reminding both of what once was. In truth, this rather sad, poignant tale is more about mistakes and regrets, choices made prior to their meeting that undermined what could have been built. AND what both have done, even knowing there is no hope for them, to make things right.

        That’s all I’m going to say for now. Don’t want to tell the tale in the comments!

        I’m glad you found the sentence vivid (love that word choice!) and appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.

  3. Wow! That opening line definitely grabs my attention!

  4. Hey, girl, it does grab my attention, your writing is beautiful, as always. I don’t have issue with phallus since it’s an historical; however, I would put the book down because I’d definitely think it was erotic, and I’m not into erotic these days.

    • Thanks, di. However, no matter how beautiful (blush) the writing, if it gives the wrong impression or makes you, or anyone, put the book down, it might need a rethink.

  5. Intriguing opening line. I found it shocking, but in a good way that made me want to know a little more. Interestingly enough, I didn’t see this as an erotic historical, probably because I wouldn’t know one if it bit me in the boom-boom. In these few lines I see no pleasure but a man conflicted. I’m also fascinated with that date line. Very, very different time period.

    • The conflict is what I was shooting for, Shelley. There is a definative physical vs. emotional tug-of-war aspect pervasive throughout. I’m glad you could see it.

  6. Awesome opening! Unquestionably caught my attention, and held it captive. I’m ambivalent about the word in question—I was interested. And Shelley is spot on with the date line. That sparked my interest as well….fantastic job, Gwynlyn.

    • Thanks, Caroline. I’m still giving it some thought, however. I want to convey the power of the attraction that still exists between them, but I also need to convey it as unwelcome and darned inconvenient. I really appreciate the input.

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