Today, we’re talking about the first lines of A Girl’s Guide to the Outback by Jessica Kate.
Samuel Payton was an idiot.
Wow! What a great first line. There are many questions that come to mind when you first read this line.
- First, who is Samuel Payton?
- Who’s talking?
- Why does he/she think Samuel is an idiot?
- What did Samuel do to garner this reaction?
As you read on, you’ll learn that the statement was made by Kimberly. Since the book blurb hints at a relationship between the two, it made me curious to learn more about Samuel and Kim.
What’s their relationship? Since he’s the love interest, what will he do to change the speaker’s opinion from idiot to love interest?
What this tells you about the character
These five words give the impression that Kimberly is someone who has a lot of self-confidence. She has an opinion about Samuel and is not afraid to share it–at least in her thoughts.
The reader is left to wonder if Kim would be bold enough to speak the words out loud or if she would choose instead to use politically correct language.
I may be reading too deeply but I also get the impression that there’s a bit of dislike–disdain?–towards Samuel. Maybe a hint of competition.
Did Samuel get a position Kim believed should have gone to her? Is Samuel her boss? Did he ask Kim to do something unreasonable? Or just something outside of her comfort zone?
The opening line is a great way to highlight a character’s greatest flaw. This could either be the flaw of the protagonist or the perceived flaw of the antagonist.
When you choose to highlight a character’s greatest flaw in this manner, you now have room to either show how the character lives up to this impression of their personality or how they are not what they appear at first.
It’s also a challenge to the reader. Will they agree with your opinion or will they disagree?
Maybe the reader will come to believe Kimberly is the idiot and not Samuel. Or maybe they will hope Kim was more open-minded and would give Samuel a chance to redeem–or prove himself.
What was your impression of Samuel and the speaker from this first line of A Girl’s Guide to the Outback?