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01 September 2008 @ 06:40 pm
First Line Meme  
Okay – stole this meme from many people. You’re supposed to grab the first line of the last 20 fics you’ve written, look for patterns, and expound on what you think those patterns say about you as a writer.
I’m cheating a little; I have only 31 stories on LJ, all Supernatural, so I thought I’d take a look at the opening lines of all 31. I was also curious to see if there was a difference between the most recent 20 stories, all of which are 100-word drabbles, and most of the earlier ones, which were longer.
This begins from the most recent story and goes back in time to the very first.  

First Lines: 
Aaaand, the analysis:
Numbers 22, 26, and 28-30 all came from stories of various lengths; all the others came from strict 100-word drabbles. From what I can tell, there’s no difference in the openers that connects to the length of the story, although most of the longer openings came in the drabbles, where they set a somewhat melancholy tone.
My opening hooks tend to be short. I often open with dialogue, usually in the middle of an already ongoing conversation or action. Even where the opening is not dialogue or internal thought, it’s most often something already in progress. My point of view is most often from within one character, and my opening lines often take the reader into the mind of that character. I write in past tense, not present. I get artsy with italics to set things off or establish emphasis. I don’t always begin with a full sentence. My descriptions are often sensory. My characters are often aware of themselves and are actively considering how they feel; I’m writing from a psychological and emotional perspective.
And I’m going to pull my viewpoint out of my own navel, now. If folk discern other patterns and things they say about me as a writer, I’d be curious to hear!


ETA:  Apologies if your flist got the whole huge thing; for some weird reason, my LJ cut wasn't working. I had to take out the code and start over manually ... 
Current Mood: curiouscurious
Current Music: "It's Not My Time" by Three Doors Down
whimsywinx: Bones-Booth thinkingwhimsywinx on September 1st, 2008 11:43 pm (UTC)
Very, very interesting!
bardicvoice: JohnThinker by <lj user=Cakehole_Cat>bardicvoice on September 3rd, 2008 01:43 am (UTC)
Would you believe, I'd never sat down to analyze my style before? That was kind of fun!
zofia27zofia27 on September 2nd, 2008 12:54 am (UTC)
I think you're spot on with your self-assesment but it may be skewed because of the 100 word drabbles. With something that short it makes sense to start with and already in the middle of a dialogue or action. Just an interesting observation in an observationally interesting way!
bardicvoice: JohnThinker by <lj user=Cakehole_Cat>bardicvoice on September 3rd, 2008 01:47 am (UTC)
The amusing thing is, that I tend to jump into action already ongoing irrespective of the story length; I decided to look at my non-Supernatural stuff as well, and it's a discernable pattern. (You can check it yourself if you like; follow the link over to my fanfiction.net page!)


You know, I think I've been influenced by television. You typically join a story already in progress ...
zofia27zofia27 on September 3rd, 2008 03:06 pm (UTC)
And they say television is bad for you! ; )
originalcindyr: BDW - Crinklesoriginalcindyr on September 2nd, 2008 03:41 am (UTC)
Confession: I have a notebook that has two sections - 1) university classes I have loved & 2) your fan fic (with a subchapter for the seasons of haiku). That's because there are moments when I want to reference or re-read something you've written and I don't wish to try and find it online. There's something special about the way you write, Mary ... I can see it, I can hear it in my head, I can feel it in my heart.

Your first line is definitely a hook - not just in your fiction but in any of your writings Professor. It sets the tone of the emotion that you are writing, as well as sets the pace.

#26 ... the first line "Sam!" for me is actually two words ... "Sam!" "Drop!" Without knowing anything further, we know that we have been plunged into a situation where (most likely) Dean is protecting his brother while in the midst of a hunt and Sam will be reacting with reflexes born of listening to his brother's commands. We immediately recognize the danger Sam is in and that Dean is moving in to take care of things.

Your writing paints a picture and the first words are your initial brush strokes. They are strong and confident.

But that's just my opinion. ;)

bardicvoice: JohnThinker by <lj user=Cakehole_Cat>bardicvoice on September 3rd, 2008 01:50 am (UTC)
Thank you, my Keeper!

I debated adding the "Drop!" to 26, but I wasn't sure how insistent the rules were that consideration was restricted to the literal first sentence ... *grin*
raputathebuta: Dean tatraputathebuta on September 2nd, 2008 11:48 pm (UTC)
Hey Mary! First of all, Your stories never fail to grab me with the first line.

Your list of openers is making up it's own story here.

Sort of reminds me of Italo Calvino's If on a winter's night a travler. Each of his chapter titles seem to make up their own "drabble".

bardicvoice: JohnThinker by <lj user=Cakehole_Cat>bardicvoice on September 3rd, 2008 01:51 am (UTC)
Yeah, but in which direction do you read them -- chronologically, or in the order in which they're presented? *grin*

Thank you, Rap!