It isn't often I turn outside my comfort zone for help, but we are all readers here and Vortex followers are notoriously brilliant.
I'm flirting with different openings. I've never had as much difficulty with any first page as I've had with this novel, The Night Caller. Not sure what it is, but my objectivity has shriveled into one quaking core of hardened story-opening doubt. I thought it might be fun to have everyone's opinion.
Try these on. Flirt with them. Chew them up a bit. Disregard genre. Pretend you picked it up off the bookstore shelf and opened to the first page. Which would compel you to read further? Plunk down cash? Dance with glee? Okay, just kidding about the last one.
The call came before dawn. Had Evan Roth not filled his solitude with crafting creamer patterns in his Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee or watching his neighbor pluck dandelions from her sidewalk crack at four am—antiseptic details to his quiet, hemorrhaging reality—he might have missed the ring completely.
The Victorian’s stark interior magnified the impatient, double bursts.
Even the whacks have to step out sometime.
The peephole’s glass bubbled the front lawn. Maple leaves spiraled like glass flecks in a pre-dawn kaleidoscope. Past the barrier—law enforcement’s kill zone—a neon sign lauding Michelin Tires blazed and faded in the shop window across the road.
An optical illusion of chaos.
Evan Roth’s only certainty the world existed beyond this zone, The Silver Creek Gazette, lay bundled on itself, too far away. Naked. Exposed.
Weigh in. I have my big girl panties on. I can take it.