The first line is the one that grabs you by the neck and holds on tight, according to The Rules of Writing. The flash of thigh that grabs someone's attention. That one line might be enough to hook or lose your reader, so better make it a damn good one.
Here’s the scene. Writer sits. Thinks. Writer wants a line that will introduce the character, set the scene, be both warmly familiar and interestingly fresh, while hinting at the pleasures yet to come. It’s a lot to ask of a line.
Waits for genius to strike her on the head and scorch words on the page.
Writes ‘Once upon a time…’
In reality, the first line often is often just the place where the story starts. I could spend a day carefully crafting an opening line so that it throws a startling and tantalising image into the reader’s lap, or I could write three thousand words, scan to see where the action starts, and chop off the dross preceding it.
Still, there are occasions when a first line does drop from the sky, and somehow, miraculously, there’s enough in that one line to carry you for a whole story. There’s something hidden that needs to be explored. When I wrote ‘Housebound’, that’s exactly what happened.
Black Lace had put out a call for a Wicked Words anthology called ‘Sex in Public’. I thought – Public? I spend all my time indoors. So I started with that.
I wrote: ‘It’s been five months since I was last outside’, and a girl, her house, and her lover appeared in my head. The story unravelled in front of me.
‘Sex in Public’ is all about exhibitionism, so to celebrate the launch next week, we’re dropping our towels and giving you a sneak preview of the stories that were written by Lustbiters (and some of our lovely guests).
Throw the words ‘Sex in Public’ at a bunch of smutters, and this is what they came up with:
‘Marianna was a showgirl, a stripper, an artiste of bejewelled burlesque’
Kristina Lloyd – Marianna Multiple
An outrageous performance from Marianna and Mental Micky. You have to read this wild, fantastical story to believe it. Bring on the dancing girls!
‘Throughout her life she’d collected labels: visionary, romantic, rebel, slut.’
ADR Forte - Striptease
‘I was somewhat overdressed for a major-league ball game.’
Sophie Mouette – Make me come at the Ball Game
Playful, delicious and cheeky, a couple act decadent in their private box. Not exactly A Question of Sport…
‘Fee, fi, fo, fum, I’m going to bite your sexy bum.’
Madelynne Ellis – Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum
Lucy comes up with a very creative public fantasy for her ‘beautiful, blushing, double-scoop-chocolate-and-rum-truffle-ice-cream delicious boy.’
‘Mina climbed the steps of the temple with slow grace, a slight smudge of white against the steep staircase, flanked by her two dull-robed escorts.’
Olivia Knight – Innana’s Temple
‘Breathing deeply, I pause before the door to the Entertainment Chamber.’
Portia Da Costa – Public Domain
Mistress Cerise and her body servant Cicero dare to rebel in this wickedly playful fantasy from Portia da Costa. Lush.
‘Annabel and Mick are in the kitchen.’
Maya Hess – Day Fifty-one
Big Brother as it really should be.
‘For the twentieth time, Cauy Warner looked at his watch and back at the gate.’
Kate Pearce – Cowboy Up
Playboy rodeo champion Cauy comes back to his hometown to find his childhood sweetheart after ten years. Bucking broncos, red cowboy boots, break-ups and make-ups!
‘Miles knows that Laura likes rope.’
Mathilde Madden – Public Relations
A wonderful, submissive and twisty story ‘designed by the god(dess) of kink.’. Find out if Miles can control Miss Uncontrollable.
You know mine already. There’s a twist I don’t want to give away, so I can’t tell you much, other than what Kristina said (when I pinched her very hard):
‘Intriguing, dreamy, beautifully written, a little bit sleazy (car parks – yum) and ve-ery sexy’.
Want more? Sex in Public is out on February the 8th in the UK, and April 3rd in the US. We've also got a few copies to give away in our huge, throbbing Valentine's competition, which we'll be announcing soon.
Did we hook you?