Why This First Sentence Works
- “The Friday before winter break, my mom packed me an overnight bag and a few deadly weapons and took me to a new boarding school.” THE TITAN’S CURSE, Rick Riordan.
The first line of THE TITAN’S CURSE stopped me in my reading tracks.
I studied it to figure out why such a simple declarative sentence grabbed me.
A few words told a huge amount about the narrator. “My mom.” “Winter break.” “A new boarding school.” Obviously a modern kid below the age of driving.
Then the juxtaposition of the common-- a boy having his bag packed by his mom to go to a new boarding school, and the uncommon--a few deadly weapons. The mundane juxtaposed with the dangerous.
Since this was a young adult fantasy adventure, I knew I wasn’t reading about a mass murderer family on the way to massacre some kids. Some adventure was beginning.
In just one sentence I was given enough information to get a sense of the book and the main character, and a surprise within that information.
I’m also given several questions I want answered. Why the weapons? Why the new boarding school? Why is his mom not upset with deadly weapons?
All this will keep me reading.
Now, that’s a good first sentence.