Give Your Book A Powerful Start by Akje Majdanek

Give Your Book A Powerful Start by Akje Majdanek

Never start your story with a dream or an alarm clock buzzing; don’t start with dialogue or an infodump. Yeah, yeah…you’ve heard all the ways you shouldn’t begin a book.

Personally, I think rules are made to be broken. (>‿◠)✌

My first book began with a dream, although the dream turned out to be real. I started the second with dialogue, and that conversation doubled as the ending since it was a time travel story. And my current book starts with an infodump in the form of a newspaper column about the Triangle shirtwaist fire. ʕʘₒʘʔ

But you should never do what I do, since my books don’t sell. (ノД`゚)゚。

So how should you start a book? With a hook, of course! And these days it has to be freaking awesome, considering the competition from millions of other self-published writers out there now.

The first chapter has to draw the reader into the story and make it impossible to stop reading, but really you need to suck them in from the very first SENTENCE.

Back in the good old days of WriteOn, there was a thread where two faux agents would read the first 600 words of your book and give you suggestions for improvement, operating on the premise that a professional agent usually stops reading at about six hundred words. Fact is, most readers today won’t give you even that much. (╥︣﹏᷅╥)

You’ve got to reel them in from the first sentence, so here are some of the most famous first lines in history. Okay, I honestly didn’t like every single book listed here, (yes, Bell Jar and Finnegans Wake, I’m looking at you), but the first lines certainly kept me reading. Maybe they’ll inspire your own hook. Good luck with your writing! (੭*ˊᵕˋ)੭* ̀ˋ

▪ When I was fourteen my family moved into a burning house. – Stations of the Angels, Raymond St. Elmo

▪ I lost an arm on my last trip home. – Kindred, Octavia Butler

▪ I am an invisible man. – Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison

▪ I’m pretty much fucked. – The Martian, Andy Weir

▪ A screaming comes across the sky. – Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

▪ It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. – 1984, George Orwell

▪ It was a pleasure to burn. – Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

▪ They shoot the white girl first. – Paradise, Toni Morrison

▪ I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. – I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith

▪ All children, except one, grow up. – Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie

▪ They murdered him. – The Chocolate War, Robert Cormier

▪ If you’re going to read this, don’t bother. – Choke, Chuck Palahniuk

▪ In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. – Genesis

▪ It was the day my grandmother exploded. – The Crow Road, Iain M. Banks

▪ Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. – Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

▪ Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu. – Waiting, Ha Jin

▪ The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. – The Go-Between, L. P. Hartley

▪ This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it. – The Princess Bride, William Goldman

▪ Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge. – The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood

▪ It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. – Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

▪ Someone must have been telling lies about Josef K, for he had done nothing wrong but one morning he was arrested. – The Trial, Franz Kafka

▪ It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York. – The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath

▪ “Where’s Papa going with that ax?” said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast. – Charlotte’s Web, E. B. White

▪ As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into an enormous insect. – The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka

▪ Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. – 100 Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez

▪ riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs. – Finnegans Wake, James Joyce

▪ I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974 – Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides

▪ I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice – not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother’s death, but because he is the reason I believe in God; I am a Christian because of Owen Meany. – A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving

▪ On the morning the last Lisbon daughter took her turn at suicide–it was Mary this time, and sleeping pills–the two paramedics arrived at the house knowing exactly where the knife drawer was, and the gas oven, and the beam in the basement from which it was possible to tie a rope. – The Virgin Suicides, Jeffrey Eugenides

▪ Once upon a time, in a far-off land, I was kidnapped by a gang of fearless yet terrified young men with so much impossible hope beating inside their bodies it burned their very skin and strengthened their will right through their bones. – An Untamed State, Roxane Gay


OMP Admin Note:  Akje Majdanek is a writer and OMP Network member.  Akje is a guest blogger for the One Million Project website whose creativity is evidenced in her work.  Akje’s books–Der Reiter and Adeline–are available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Akje_Majdanek/e/B00UZSTW74 


Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers have been recently published (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.

LINKS

myBook.to/OMPThriller

myBook.to/OMPFantasy

myBook.to/OMPFiction

myBook.to/OMPVarietyAnthology

Little Things ~~ by Kate McGinn

Little Things ~~ by Kate McGinn

Diseases can leave their mark on the human body in unique ways at times, but they can also mimic other medical conditions making a differential diagnosis more difficult to obtain especially in the early stages. Cancer is one of these diseases. In nursing school, I was instructed on the “Seven Warning Signs of Cancer”.

  1. A sore that doesn’t heal
  2. A persistent cough or hoarseness
  3. A change in bowel or bladder habits
  4. Unusual bleeding or discharge
  5. Thickening or lump in the breast or elsewhere
  6. Indigestion or difficulty in swallowing
  7. Changes in your skin such as an obvious change in a mole or wart

The warning signs were drilled into my fellow nursing students and me, and I hate to tell you that I’ve ignored a symptom or two in the past. This list is very basic and many times these changes can be attributed to another cause, but only your physician can tell you for sure if you have something to worry about or not.

October was the month for mammograms and dutiful nurse that I am, I posted on Facebook reminding my friends to get their mammograms while ignoring to schedule one of my own. I had good intentions but I let life’s everyday minutiae get in the way.  In December, I received a Christmas card from an old friend.  She wrote that a daughter had been diagnosed with breast cancer that year and two months later, my friend had the same diagnosis as her daughter. The news blew me away, and I said a prayer that their treatments would prove successful.

The next day I stepped out of the shower and although I don’t usually look at myself naked in a mirror (at 58 years of age it isn’t something I relish seeing), on this day I noted something that gave me pause.

Remember the list above is very general and doesn’t list all of the manifestations of these signals. Number five above doesn’t address one of the other changes that can occur in a breast — an inverted nipple. This is the first time I’d ever seen this happen to either of my breasts. I made a call to the hospital that same day and scheduled my overdue mammogram.

The day after Christmas, I had a mammogram. I’m thrilled to say it was normal. Thank goodness, because my story could have had a hugely different ending. Little things can signal the beginnings of diseases that can change your life and the lives of your family.

You know your own body better than anyone. If you notice something, even if it seems too small or insignificant to matter, ask your physician or speak to a nurse about it.  Please do not panic if you do have one of the warning signs, only a physician and medical testing can give you a diagnosis. That being said, I will give you two examples that show the importance of seeking knowledgeable professionals about changes that concern you.

My husband’s family has a history of skin cancer. They spent a lot of time outside playing golf, camping, and swimming. Not too many people in the 1960’s-1970’s used sunscreen as frequently as they do today and my husband was one of the people who didn’t. I check him for any changes to moles on his body periodically and refer him to his doctor when I see something I’m concerned over. On one occasion, I noted white patches on his upper ears. They turned out to be pre-cancerous and were removed.

I have a college friend who had an irritated rash which would sometimes bleed in a very sensitive area of her body. I did not look at it, but asked her questions concerning it — when she noticed it, did it ever heal, had she brought it to her medical provider’s attention? She told me it was a constant irritation over several months.  Because of its location, she asked someone that she felt comfortable with when she decided to speak about her concerns. Number one on the list is a sore that doesn’t heal. My friend took my advice and talked to her provider. She was treated for cancer to the area. I thank God every day she felt comfortable enough to speak out and that I was able to convince her to seek help.

The little things can make a difference between life and death.


OMP Admin Note: Kate McGinn is a writer and OMP Network member – one of a group of networkers who will be blogging on a regular basis on various causes and issues. Kate hopes to spread awareness of the issue of American Veterans returning home to less help than they deserve. EMMAUS is one of the two main charities we are supporting.

Kate McGinn’s fiction can be found on Amazon in the flash fiction series BITE SIZE STORIES (Volume Two) along with five other guest writers and in the One Million Project Fiction Anthology. Her Clare Thibodeaux Series, which include the suspense books — EXODUS, WINTER’S ICY CARESS, and NEVER SHOW YOUR HAND, is available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01KUKTYFQ

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kate-McGinn/e/B01KUKTYFQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1473258097&sr=1-2-ent

https://www.katemcginn.com/


Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers have been recently published (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.

LINKS

myBook.to/OMPThriller

myBook.to/OMPFantasy

myBook.to/OMPFiction

myBook.to/OMPVarietyAnthology