During writing group, several of us began talking about first paragraphs.  So, I was wondering if you would like to share the best first paragraph that you've written.  It doesn't have to be great literature, just the best you've done so far.  Here is mine.

Working for God is never easy,” Detweiler said as he jacked a twelve gauge shell into the chamber of a cutdown Remington. Behind him four others loaded their weapons. They stood at the front door of the abandoned hulk of Lawrence Talbot Junior High School, three miles from Cle Elum, Washington. A light snow fell.

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Wonderful rhythms in this paragraph, Jack.  You will attract plenty of readers with this kind of writing, and I don't think you will have any trouble finding another agent.

I wore my good suit, the one that fit when I didn’t carry a gun. Visiting an old woman with money shouldn’t require a weapon, even for me.

I like it, Dana. Reminiscent of Chandler, but distinctive.

I often start with a hook of a single line, such as:

She had already thought of three ways to kill him.

Not my best.  The start of a short story:  The Incense Murder.

On a gray spring morning in a week of cold, drizzling rains, Akitada was summoned by his mother.  Their relationship was strained at the best of times, but on this occasion she would get him involved in a case that nearly ended his career and perhaps his life.  He would forever after fear dealings with his parent and doubt himself.

Wow, this sets up so much stuff.  It would be hard not to keep reading this one.  Super.

:)  The woman's a witch!  What can I say.

From a news story I wrote:

Rudy Romero ran for a long time, all over Mexico.  He had a good chance.  The drug gangs protected him, and the murder in his memory had taken place a long time ago, in another country.  But that had been the murder of a policeman, and, for that kind of killing, you know the hunting will never stop.


Lots of great stuff here, all.  From the new one:

Gray dawn, damp and still, unseasonably cold.  The police detective moved slowly, fog roiling around him.  He took a photograph of one of the dead seals.  Its back was dark gray, its belly mottled, lighter.  Two more lay near it, their blood smeared across the broad concrete patio.  Twenty feet away but barely visible, the harbor lipped at the long, lion-colored sweep of the town beach—the dark water keeping its secrets.  On Long Point, an automated foghorn hooted at twelve second intervals.     

Very atmospheric.  Also vaguely ominous.  I like it.

Thanks, I.J.--I like yours, too.  And my in-laws keep telling me how much they like Akitada, by the way.  They're voracious readers, and will talk up your books to everyone they know.


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