Lee Child “I love beginnings… Everything I do, I base on what I love as a reader,” he says when asked about his approach to writing. “I write one book a year, but read about 300. I’m more of a reader than a writer. Over 20 years I’ve learnt that writing and reading is an amazing thing. We have a transaction – the reader, in their heads, creates the book as much as I do. It’s an emotional contract.
“I love beginnings,” he claims. “I love starting a book. The first sentence is unique in that it’s the only one that doesn’t follow another. It has to capture the mood, to give a sense of what’s to come. I’m very happy if I get a good start, and then it grows. Reacher has no idea what he’s going to do when he starts, just like in real life.”
[in an interview with ‘on: Yorkshire’ magazine on October 19, 2017]
I know what he means about first sentences, first paragraphs. When I’m idly browsing in a bookshop, the first thing I read is the first sentence. Not the book blurb, not the last page, not the author bio. And when I’m working my way into my next novel, playing around, quite often the first sentence comes into my mind ready-made. You don’t have to write thrillers to see why Child’s first sentences draw the reader in. In each of them there is action or change, the hint of a past, and the question ‘what next?’
Here are some of Child’s first sentences:-
‘Nathan Rubin died because he got brave.’ Die Trying
‘Moving a guy as big as Keever wasn’t easy.’ Make Me
‘Hook Hobie owed the whole of his life to a secret nearly thirty years old.’ Tripwire
‘They found out about him in July and stayed angry all through August.’ Without Fail
Read the full article in On: Yorkshire magazine.
‘No Middle Name’ by Lee Child
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Why @LeeChildReacher loves beginnings #amwriting via @SandraDanby