I’ve finished the fourth or fifth draft of the first chapter of Carbon Run. The book opens with a house fire. Here’s the first paragraph:
The flames destroyed everything. Bill Penn and his 15-year-old daughter Anne screamed at the fire. Penn ordered Anne to move the truck away from the house so it wouldn’t catch from the heat. Paint bubbled off the hood like a volcanic mud pot. Anne dialed 9-1-1 on her cell, and Penn got a hose on the house, but the old irrigation pump couldn’t put enough water on the inferno. Mist from the nozzle soaked Penn’s t-shirt, overalls and dark hair. Steam hissed from the rockery by the front porch. The solar-powered pump gave out, and the water stream quit. The cistern, already low, emptied. The needles on the ponderosa pine woods around the house browned.
The first paragraph, indeed the first sentence, is often the most important in any piece of fiction. I think the first sentence is a bit weak. What do you think?
I inserted the photo of the forest fire because one starts in the next paragraph and sets up the main conflict. It’s said that forest fires will increase as a result of global warming. Have you ever seen a forest fire? What’s it like?