Thursday, June 4, 2009

Humbling Revelations

--Adrienne Miller

Of all the rash and midnight promises made in the name of love, none, Boone knew was more certain to be broken than “I’ll never leave you.” - Cabal, Clive Barker

Let’s get this out of the way right now. I will never write this well. Never. Not if I studied every craft book that’s ever been written. Not if I wrote everyday for the rest of my life.

The first line of Cabal has stayed with me. I memorized it almost immediately. It is the gold standard by which I judge all other first lines--my own especially. And I am well aware that, in my own mind, I will never produce anything that surpasses its simple beauty.

In a strange way, this revelation has been liberating. I mean, if the best first line has already been written, the pressure is off. RIght? No need to sit on my butt for hours, staring at the awesome intimidation that is a blank document page and waiting for pure genius to pour forth from my fingers.

Ain’t. Gonna. Happen.

Don’t get me wrong. I still have a lot of work to do, a lot to live up to. I have to hook you. Pull you in. Not let you go until its 2 a.m. and you’re cursing me, yelling, “For Heaven’s sake, I have to get up in the morning.” That’s a tall enough order without having to worry about if my first line will make you weep.

So, if the trophy for best first line has already been awarded, I’m cool with that. Let’s just agree not to get into the contest for best last line of a novel. That shiny little beauty is still up for grabs as far as I’m concerned.


Sophie Littlefield said...

a spankin' for you, Miss A. Nobody knows how many socks they're going to knock off tomorrow or the next day. I'm sitting here waiting for you to dazzle me. I think you can write as well as that - and beyond...

Rachael said...

That's a gorgeous first line. I've never read the book, but like you, I'm glad to know the best line has been taken care of and that I don't have to worry about it.

Tom Neely said...

Sophie's right. You've never written a book with a character named Boone so you just don't know.