Thursday, December 15, 2011

First Line Quiz

By Paula Matter

ETA: Time for some hints! In no particular order, here are the last names initials of the authors. All 10, even though Barb knew Alan Orloff's. Scroll down for the ANSWERS.
I have a file on my computer that (which?) contains sentences that pop into my head. Some of these are opening lines for stories I’m currently working on, others are for stories that have nothing more than the one line. Some of them have been sitting in that file for a very long time. Some of them aren’t opening lines, but I know they’ll fit somewhere in a story. Someday. Somewhere. Somehow.

I love coming up with opening lines. I love reading great opening lines. I love quizzes matching opening lines with their authors. I especially love creating quizzes where I know the answers.

Just for fun, can you match up the following ten opening lines with their author and title?

There are no prizes, so go ahead and Google your heart out.

1. I hate whiners.

2. You may remember me.

3. I was lying dead in the churchyard.

4. The first thing I noticed as I was sitting in a squad car was that police cruisers don’t have seatbelts in the back.

5. “I’m scared,” Ethan said.

6. I lurked in the wings watching the man kill.

7. Falling on my ass really hurts.

8. If my life were a book, I would have masking tape holding my hinges together.

9. “They’re all dead.”

10. Justifiable homicide might be hard to prove, but my had-it-up-to-here brain was giving it a hearty stamp of approval as a reasonable defense.

So, have at it! I’ll be back later today to provide the answers. Y’all are such a smart group, I have a strong hunch I won’t have to.

Did you have to Google for any/all of these lines? I'm thinking at least one will be known immediately by this group.

What are some of your favorite opening lines? How important are they to you as a reader? As a writer?

Hints:  Answers:

1. Lois Winston; Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun
2.Steve Hamilton; The Lock Artist
3. Alan Bradley; The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag
4. Nancy Martin; Sticky Fingers
5. Linwood Barclay; Never Look Away
6. Alan Orloff; Killer Routine
7. Joelle Charbonneau; Skating Around the Law
8. Kate Carlisle; If Books Could Kill
9. Sheila Connolly; Red Delicious Death
10. Heather Webber; Deeply, Desperately

Does that help?

16 comments:

Joyce said...

I don't know any of these, but my favorite is #10.

I've said it before, but my all time favorite opening line is in Kathy Haines' book, THE WINTER OF HER DISCONTENT: "Some guys brought you flowers; Al brought meat."

C.L. Phillips said...

I love this post! Headed to google, because I don't know a single one of these. Awesome!

Jenna said...

I don't know any of them either. Guess I don't read the right kinds of books.

One of my fave opening lines is from Julia Spencer-Fleming's first Millers Kill mystery, IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER. "It was one hell of a night to throw away a baby."

Barb Goffman said...

Number 6: I lurked in the wings, watching the man kill, is by The Man, Alan Orloff. It's from the first book in his comedian/amateur sleuth series, Killer Routine.

Number 7: Falling on my ass really hurts, is bugging the hell out of me, because I just read it in the last couple weeks, but I can't remember which book it is.

I don't know any of the rest, but I have to say that I agree with Jenna. I love that opening line from In the Bleak Midwinter. Julia Spencer-Fleming just set the tone and mood with that one sentence beautifully.

Oh, and Paula, you had it right in your first sentence. The correct word is that, not which.

Working Stiffs said...

I thought this would be too easy!

Looking over the list, I see that most are in first POV. Interesting.

BTW, all of these are from books I pulled from my own bookshelves. A few of them were too obvious, so weren't added to the list. Maybe I should've included them to make it easier. . .

Working Stiffs said...

Oh, Joyce, and here I thought you'd know most of them. I mean, after all, you've met at least half of the authors. . .

Or at least had the opportunity to meet them. I know you know one of them.

Working Stiffs said...

I love you excitement, C/L.! Have fun!

Jenna, I have a hunch you'll say, "Oh, of course." when I give the answers later today.

Thanks, Barb! Sometimes the first word I choose is the correct one. Thanks for confirming.

Yay, Barb, for getting Alan Orloff's right!

Annette said...

I recognize #4, but can't for the life of me place what book it's from. Ack.

Working Stiffs said...

Annette, you are gonna kick yourself. . .

Annette said...

I know it, Paula.

Annette said...

Ha! I just Googled it. You're right. Kicking myself around the house and down the street.

Working Stiffs said...

Okay, Annette, you can stop now.

Time for some hints?

Barb Goffman said...

We want answers! We want answers!

Books by Heather said...

Wow! Loved seeing one of my lines on this list. How fun!

C.L. Phillips said...

This is so much fun, I think we need to make this a regular feature! :)

Jenna said...

Just as I thought. I hadn't read any of them.