Michille: First Lines – And then the murders began.

What I Learned About Writing From My HairdresserLife interrupted again, so I’m digging out an old post and adding on. A while back, I posted about a bag of books my daughter brought home from work from a girl who knows she loves to read. We sat around the dining table after dinner that night and read the first paragraphs of several of the books.

There were several Debbie Macombers which I brushed off. I’ve read her stuff before and it’s great, but she doesn’t even open the bedroom door, much less close it after the kiss, and I like the sexual tension in stories and she doesn’t deliver that. There was a Nora Roberts that I’d read before and since she breaks a lot of rules, I wasn’t surprised that hers didn’t deliver the expected. We added in a Fern Michaels, an old Janet Evanovich, a Susan Wiggs, and a Jayne Ann Krentz.

In the interest of brevity, I went with the first lines of those books at the time and it was illuminating to discuss which first lines intrigued us into an interest in reading further. Here is what we read with the addition of this Facebook page thing – take the first line of any book and add “And then the murders began.”

Janet Evanovich. Hero at Large. Chris Nelson muttered an indiscernible oath and expelled a cloud of frost into the bone-chilling early-morning air. And then the murders began.

Nora Roberts. Considering Kate. It was going to be perfect. And then the murders began.

Debbie Macomber. Those Christmas Angels. Anne Fletcher pulled the last box of Christmas decorations from the close in the spare bedroom. And then the murders began.

Debbie Macomber. 50 Harbor Street. Corrie McAfee was worried. And then the murders began.

Fern Michaels. Balancing Act. Soft night sounds and cool, whispering breezes at last persuaded her thickly lashed eyes to close in slumber. And then the murders began.

Fern Michaels. The Scoop. It was an event, there was no doubt about it. And then the murders began.

Right now, I’m reading the new Nora Roberts, Come Sundown. It actually could have started that way, sort of, but she has several that could.

I know we’re all about romance, but how would that change your story? Or any story you read?

6 thoughts on “Michille: First Lines – And then the murders began.

  1. I love that “And then the murders began.” I’d love to read any of the books you’ve got there, as long as the murders began. That would sure be fun to write!

    Just recently I read a review I think on Smart Bitches of a book that was something like “Amish Zombies from Outer Space,” (or maybe it was “The Alien’s Amish Wife”? I’m not sure now) which had started as a joke title, everybody in the room thinking of the most outlandish thing they could put together, and then someone decided to take it seriously and write the book. The Smart Bitches said the book was a lot better than they’d thought possible, given the story setup. “And then the murders began” would be a piece of cake in comparison.

    • SB/TB is a fabulous blog. My husband and I have had great fun turning first lines, headlines, movie trailers, etc, into “And then the murders began.” And I have to say, I’m a Murder She Wrote junkie so it works for me on many levels.

  2. It was poker night in the Ninth Ring of Hell. And then the murders began.

    Beneath the desk of her home office, twenty-seven year old Taylor Wallace bent her bare toes under until the rough nap of the Berber carpet rubbed against her toenails. And then the murders began.

    Not just no, but hell, no. And then the murders began.

    Definitely adds something.

    • Funny. I am going to a baby shower on Saturday that requested baby books in lieu of cards. My daughter and I chose 2 of our favorites.
      P.D. Eastman. Are You My Mother?
      A mother bird sat on her egg. And then the murders started.
      But so incredibly appropriate is the Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter” which are so gruesome but both of my children LOVED them:
      The Tale of Peter Rabbit
      Once Upon a Time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were – Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter. And then the murders started.
      Which is so appropriate for a Beatrix Potter story. The murders never happened, but the animals wanted them to. The rats wanted to eat Tom Kitten. The fox wanted to eat the silly goose. Etc.
      Children’s literature mimics The Scream series. Who knew?

  3. What fun! I’m sorry I’m so late to the party — been a very hot and forgetful week here.

    This is only an alternative first draft line, but here goes:

    Jack was drifting on the bottom of the creek, holding his breath and letting the cool water wash away the early-summer stickiness, when the fish went crazy.And then the murders began.

    Brrr! And I was hyperventilating over a lover’s first fight. Murders definitely take it down a chillier hallway.

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