First Lines


PW.orgThe first sentence of your first serious novel can be a kind of torture. You know it’s important, but you also have a full story to tell. So to do? You tear through your bookcase, yanking out tomes to see again how they begin, hoping upon hope that inspiration will arrive.

In October we announced our content partnership with Poets & Writers (the organization, which publishes the magazine) and posted excerpts from Page One, a regular feature in Poets & Writers magazine which presents a smattering of first sentences from newly released books.

Here's part of the newest selection, see old our ones here, or click through to Poets & Writers to read more.

"On certain autumn days in New York City, the light seems to come from every direction."
Little Boy Blues (Pantheon Books, January 2010) by Malcolm Jones. First book, memoir. Agent: Chris Calhoun. Editor: Dan Frank. Publicist: Katie Freeman.

"There were two kinds of truths, good truths and hurtful ones."

Wild Child and Other Stories (Viking, January 2010) by T. C. Boyle. Twenty-first book, ninth story collection. Agent: Georges Borchardt. Editor: Paul Slovak. Publicist: Holly Wats

"Outside his Cincinnati windows, a street game in full swing."
Approaching Ice (Persea Books, December 2009) by Elizabeth Bradfield. Second book, poetry collection. Agent: None. Editor: Gabriel Fried. Publicists: Tressa Canaday, Stephanie Kartalopoulos, and Latisha Linder.

Check out more at Poets & Writers, then add your favorite—from books new or old—in the comments area below to help inspire your fellow WEbookers.

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