First Impressions


Remember when you were a kid and you loved to play pretend? This week’s Margarita Moment is a chance to recapture that imagination of yours.

Use any of my first three novels’ opening lines, or think of your own story starter, and have fun daydreaming. Ask yourself “What if?” and see where the ideas flow.

Ready or not, here we go…

A Daughter’s Final Promise – Contemporary Romance

First Impression: Kathryn knew better than to drink three glasses of champagne. She told herself she was obligated to have one during the toast. As for the second, she drank that in mock celebration of her status as single-older-sister-of-the-bride. She was fuzzy as to why she downed the third, but she strongly suspected it had something to do with having consumed the first two. It couldn’t have anything to do with her attraction to Joanna’s new brother-in-law, Jacob. Or, the fact he was slow dancing with another woman while she sat here in the corner, fiddling with her empty champagne glass.

When Dreams Collide – Contemporary Romance

First Impression:  Nicki Donnatto glanced up from her carefully prepared notes and smiled at the friendly faces in the audience. “And these are the reasons I request rezoning approval and a building permit.” She turned to the five board members seated to her left. “Thank you for your consideration.”

Uncharted Waters (Working Title) – Contemporary Romance

First Impression:  Damn his buddy, Dillon, for wanting to see some new performer at a Duval Street bar Saturday. Sure, the guy turned out to be a kickass musician, and he was funny as hell. All the tourists had laughed, their vacation dollars tucked into his tip jar. But that was beside the point. If they’d hung out at the Green Parrot instead of that tourist trap, he wouldn’t be in this mess. He couldn’t get her out of his head.

Speaking of story lines, the ending of A Daughter’s Final Promise was inspired by one of my favorite songs. Kathryn decides to take another chance on love, her relationship with Jacob different than others in the past because it’s one based on trust and tempered with compromise. Take a listen to this Maroon 5 video She Will Be Loved:

Fellow writers: This post was the brainchild of the talented and sweet Sonia G Medeiros’ April-May Writing Challenge. If you’d like to participate, click the link for more details. I’d love to see your entry!

Margarita Lovers: What’s your favorite first line or last words of a book, play, or movie? OR What inspires you?

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10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nicole Basaraba
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 11:09:36

    Wow very nice openers!! Make me want to read the whole story. 🙂 I really liked the öpening line of Marilyn Brant’s book: A Summer in Europe. As I don’t have it handy, I can’t copy it here. But I remember that it was about the character being 3 ages at once.

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Apr 18, 2012 @ 19:33:26

      Thanks for stopping by and giving me your opinion, Nicole. Thanks, too, for sharing one of your favorite hooks. Three ages at once must have generated so many reader questions you couldn’t put the book down. Interesting.

  2. Catie Rhodes
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 19:14:20

    I would totally read A Daughter’s Final Promise…even though I am not a romance reader. The other two were good, but that first one really really hooked me. I totally got into your character’s head. Good writing on all, by the way. 😀

    Favorite first line: When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, all I had on my mind was Paul Newman and a ride home. ~ The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

    What inspires me: True crime. Ghost stories. (this is why I blog about the topics I blog about)

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Apr 18, 2012 @ 19:30:00

      Thanks for your honest feedback, Catie. I write many drafts, so I’m hopeful my second two openings will have the same depth of my first by this time next year. Maybe then you’d be eager to read those, too. 😀 Either way, I’m tickled you’d read ADFP even though romance isn’t your usual fare.

      I found it amazing that Hinton was a young woman, nothing like the characters whose heads she crawled inside so effectively. What a powerful hook!

      I’m thrilled true crime and the paranormal inspires you. You’ve opened up a whole other world for me through your posts. Keep ’em coming. 🙂

  3. Donna Coe-Velleman
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 22:44:37

    I like A Daughter’s Final Promise the best out of the three with Uncharted Waters coming in second. Truthfully to me they’re not real suck-you-inners but quickly looking at Timeline by Michael Crichton and The 6 Sacred Stones by Mathew Reilly, both books I really enjoyed, their openings weren’t either.
    It just goes to show that you don’t need to hit a reader over the head to get them moving. You know what I mean? So jeez i’m probably off on this. : )

    I know I’ve read great openings but for the life of me I can’t remember them. There’s one beginning I liked and I happen to have the book. It’s First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

    I’d been having the same dream for the past month- the one where a dark stranger materialized out of smoke and shadows to play doctor with me. I was starting to wonder if repetitive exposure to nightly hallucinations resulting in earth-shattering climaxes could have any long term side effects. Death via extreme pleasure was a serious concern. The prospect let to the following dilemma: Do I seek help or buy drinks all around?

    The book is humorous and quirky which the opening hints at and is why I like it.

  4. Jolyse Barnett
    Apr 19, 2012 @ 06:40:31

    Hi Donna! Thanks for sharing. I especially like Jones’ line, “Death by extreme pleasure was a serious concern.” It sets the tone for the story.

  5. Dawn Berkoski
    Apr 19, 2012 @ 17:59:42

    Since you said you never read. 🙂

    As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. He was lying on his hard, as it were armor-plated, back and when he lifted his head a little he could see his dome-like brown belly divided into stiff arched segments on top of which the bed quilt could hardly keep in position and was about to slide off completely. His numerous legs, which were pitifully thin compared to the rest of his bulk, waved helplessly before his eyes.

    What has happened to me? he thought. It was no dream.

    Kafka~ Metamorphosis

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Apr 19, 2012 @ 19:34:08

      No, I’m sad to say I’ve yet to read Kafka. But now I can say I’ve read the opening for Metamorphosis. And that’s quite a hook! Thanks for stopping by to share. 🙂

  6. Sonia G Medeiros
    Apr 25, 2012 @ 12:13:55

    Love your openings! A Daughter’s Final Promise is definitely my favorite and I really want to know what happens next :D. Thanks for sharing the video too. I hadn’t seen it before even I’ve heard the song.

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Apr 25, 2012 @ 17:46:21

      Thanks for reading, Sonia, and thanks for the inspiration to include my opening hooks on the blog. I agree 100% that my first hook is the most developed and draws the reader in best.

      Look forward to reading other submissions on your blog. Keep up the great work! 🙂

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