It's time for First Line Friday again, where YA authors stop by and share a sneak peak at a first line from their upcoming book.
Today, we have Christina Farley, author of Gilded!
CHRISTINA FARLEY, author of Gilded was born and raised in upstate New York. As a child, she loved to explore, which later inspired her to jump on a plane and travel the world. She taught at international schools in Asia for ten years, eight of which were in the mysterious and beautiful city of Seoul, Korea that became the setting of Gilded. Currently she lives in Clermont, FL with her husband and two sons—that is until the travel itch
whisks her off to a new unknown. Gilded is her first novel. For more details, check out her website at www.christinafarley.com. Christina holds a master’s degree in education and has taught for eighteen years. She is represented by Jeff Ourvan of Jennifer Lyons Literary.
When sixteen-year old, Jae Hwa, is uprooted from her home in L.A. to Korea, she thought her biggest problem would be fitting in with her classmates and dealing with her dismissive grandfather. But she was wrong. A Korean demi-god, Haemosu, has been stealing the soul of the oldest daughter of each generation in her family for centuries. And she’s next.
Jae trains with a Korean master, confident her taekwondo will be enough to fight Haemosu. But she’s wrong again. Desperate, Jae delves into the ancient arts of metamorphism and uses her growing power in the Spirit World.
And then there’s Marc. Irresistible, charming, and mysterious, Marc threatens to break the barriers around Jae’s heart. But Marc has a secret of his own. One that could help destroy Haemosu. As Jae grows closer to him, she must decide if she can trust him and whether putting his life in jeopardy is worth the risk.
Jae thought she knew all the answers. It turns out that she’s been wrong about a lot of things: her grandfather is her greatest ally, even the tough girl can fall in love, and Korea might just be the home she’s always been looking for.
Christina's going to tell us a little about her first line--how she wrote it and what she considers to be a great first line:
Man, the first chapter was the toughest chapter of the whole book for me. I changed it so many times that I can't even remember how many! Basically the essentials of the chapter are still the same, but there was a lot of moving things around and fleshing out details in the story.
This is the first line when I wrote the first draft of GILDED:
"The concrete steps yawn before me and stretch all the way up to the museum. I grip my case until my knuckles are whiter than the snow flitting across my face. "
Yeah, pretty bad. I still cringe when I read that. Thankfully I've come a long way as a writer!
"Stillness fills the empty stage as I press the horn bow to my body and notch an arrow. I pull back the string. The power of it courses through me, a sizzling fire in my veins. I squint just enough so the mark crystallizes while everything around it blurs."
Basically, by the time I got to the final draft, I deleted the whole scene of Jae Hwa walking into the museum with her parents and setting up to practice. This helped me get Jae Hwa to the event I needed her to be in faster. This definitely quickened the pace of the story.
In fact I didn't just delete that scene, but I deleted the mom from the story, too. And by doing so, I think not only did I have a stronger opener, but it allowed more internal conflict and motivation for Jae Hwa that I was able to weave throughout the novel.
As far as the best opening line ever comes from Charlotte's Web:
"Where's Papa going with that axe?" said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.
In that line you've got a hook, conflict, emotions and setting all woven into one. Wowsers.
Be sure to check out GILDED and Christina: