Dearest Miss Snark,
I am doing the final polish on my novel before sending it out. I keep being told that the first line is absolutely crucial. I know people who have spent two hours in a workshop just reading first lines and saying whether or not they'd read on.
Is this really the state of the industry today? If my first line doesn't grab an agent by the throat, am I really doomed to failure? My metaphorical dead body arrives early in page two, so the story gets going quickly. (And no, I cannot start with the dead body, for several reasons not germane to the discussion.)
Is the current obsession with the 'perfect first line' really necessary?
Thank you so much for all you do for us. My nitwit rating has gone down considerably since I began reading your blog.
Nitwit rating! I love it.
And no, you don't need a perfect first line. You just need a first line that doesn't make me think "this sux".
We set things down when they're bad, not when they're not good enough.
There's a big distinction. It's hard to describe. Two days in my slush pile and you'd see it clearly.
If you read the first page crapometer entries one after another, you'll see it there too.
Try not to worry any more than is required by law.