Tim Pratt
SF and Fantasy Writer

First Lines

I’ve seen the beloved First Lines meme going around again, so I figured I’d join in. Here are the opening sentences of several works-in-progress.

“Why have you brought me here, doctor?” the Chairman asked, in a voice like the stillness just before a storm.

– [Undisclosed work-for-hire book]

I’m the goddess of death, but only part time.

Bride of Death, Marla Mason #7

(Yes, I’m toying with writing it in first person.)

I thought that thing where a long-lost great-grand-uncle you’ve never heard of dies and leaves you a house was just something that happened in the movies: but here I am, standing on his front porch, hoping I won’t get tetanus from touching the rusty doorknob.

Heirs of Grace

I left home more than twenty years ago, and haven’t been back since; so why do I still think of it as home at all?

– “The Cold Corner”

Because she couldn’t think of any other way to survive, Marla Mason called a council of war.

– “Mongoose”

The thing that was not a cloak opened its three-score eyes and saw an ugly blue sky.

– “The Cloak: A Selective History”

And that’s it. Not so many works-in-progress, really; I even have reasonable expectations that I’ll finish all of them.

4 Responses to “First Lines”

  1. Glen Murie Says:

    Switching the narrative for the next Marla Mason book would be interesting, but it might be a bit jarring. Plus which Marla might not be a reliable narrator. If she were to narrate in character you might have trouble getting her to reveal crucial plot elements without her breaking character.

    You know your own character best, and you’re a skilled fiction writer, more skilled than me certainly, but there might be some serious push-back from her fans.

    By the way, please send Marla to Seattle, Toronto, or Madison WI. Thank you.

    BTW: Madison is run by a powerful Algiomancer (pain mage) who uses the bike trails, triathalons, runs, and bike rides to power his magic from the accumulated pain of the accidents and injuries. :)

  2. Tim Pratt Says:

    Oh, if I did it well I think the fans would roll with it. (Also, I always gotta do what seems like the best way to tell the story. If readers hate it, I will be extremely sad, but they’d also be sad if I just hacked out some predictable crap because I was afraid of annoying them!)

    I might do sections in her first person, other sections in other viewpoints, largely because I hate to lose villain viewpoints entirely. (I like writing my villains). For me, much of the fun would be her unreliability! There’s also an actual story-driven reason for Marla to keep a written journal in the next novel (though to reveal the reason in this comment would be spoilery), so it wouldn’t be entirely random first person.

    Marla may well go to Madison. It’s a city I like a lot, and she’s doing a bit of a walking tour in this next novel.

  3. Glen Murie Says:

    I look forward to it, no matter how you attack the novel.

    I hope that you’ll also still get Jessica Almasy to do the audio book, and get it up on audible.com. I enjoy listening to these books while I paint, and Jessica is the perfect narrator for Marla Mason.

  4. Tim Pratt Says:

    I love Jessica’s work. I hope Audible buys rights to the next book and hires her to read it too… but since I haven’t written it yet I might be getting ahead of myself. :)

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