Four First Paragraphs

I recently had a brief discussion on Twitter with Ksenia Anske about the importance of introducing a story's main character in the first paragraph. As I will explain later in a more detailed blog post, I am skeptical of some of the "rules" that are passed around among modern authors, and the idea that the "MC" must be introduced in the first paragraph seemed like one of those ideas that sounds good at first but is really unnecessary. You can find some rather popular books (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Fellowship of the Ring for two extremely successful examples) that do not introduce the main character right off the bat.

Rather than delve into that rule or any other, however, I thought it might be interesting, or perhaps vaguely amusing, to offer up the first paragraphs of the four books I currently have on the market. So, that's the purpose of this blog post. Although I certainly did not intend, in advance, to introduce my main characters in my first paragraphs, that is indeed how it turned out. (Considering my generally low sales, I can't imagine that not doing so would make my sales any worse.)

For Journey to Yandol, and other stories I used the first paragraph of the first story in that collection, since that seemed the most sensible. For the Financial ABC book, the first paragraph comes from the short introduction. Since it lacks a main character at all, it may not fit into this idea as well, so I listed it last. This also keeps the list in roughly chronological order based on original publication dates. Finally, the "first paragraph" of the children's book is the first page because, well, there are no paragraphs per se in that book, other than in the notes to parents and teachers in the back of the book.

Links below lead to the Kindle editions of each book (edited to unlink the first edition of Lesson One: Revolution! since the second edition is now current). Now, on to those first paragraphs....

Journey to Yandol (from Journey to Yandol, and other stories)

Alex Nabihr slumped deeper into the conn, her fatigued body refusing to keep up with her still-racing thoughts. The closing comments in the case of Modak 6 v. Nabihr echoed in her mind. “The justice system of this planet...” Alex snorted softly; “justice” didn't fit in the same sentence as the Modak System. Had she been up against a farming peasant, she might have had a chance. Butting heads with Police Commissioner Bandy Perrine, on the other hand, was an exercise in futility.

Lesson One: Revolution!

“Political bias.” Dan Starney paused for effect. Actually, his students thought he paused for effect, but instead he paused to survey his class and choose some slackers to pick on. He was a slender, but not particularly fit, man in his early fifties. Although his hair was starting to thin, he didn't look thirty years older than his high school students. They were mostly seniors, generally seventeen or eighteen, although some advanced juniors were in the class as well, along with one sophomore who was one of the most bookish students he had met in many years.

Two Boys, Two Planets

A boy sat on a big rock. The rock was on a big hill.

Assets, Budgets, and Credits: A Financial ABC

This is a book about money. It is not about “getting rich,” nor is it intended to promote greed or valuation of money over things in life that are intangible but still valuable, such as love, beauty, knowledge, wisdom, a walk in the wilderness, a starry sky, etc. Whatever moral judgments you might make about money or wealth, it is an inescapable fact that money deeply affects our lives, no matter what our economic class may be. The more we understand our money, the more we can control our own futures.

Well, there you have them. You're welcome to leave a comment on which (if any) of these you like, or perhaps tell me why they are all terrible and do not capture your attention at all. If you don't want to bother with signing up for an account (a necessary step due to spammers), you can always fire off a message to me via the contact form on my site or via Twitter, Google+, etc.

By Stuart Whitmore

About the Author
Stuart J. Whitmore is an author of fiction and nonfiction, as well as a photographer, technology developer, and more. If you enjoy reading his blog posts, you might also enjoy reading his books. Take a look at the books by Stuart J. Whitmore today, and download your copy of one that looks interesting to you!