17.2: It Was a Promise of Three Parts

Your Hosts: Howard Tayler, Kaela RiveraSandra Tayler, and Megan Lloyd

The title of this episode comes to us from the first paragraph of The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss—a novel which delights us with turns of phrase and evocative prose from beginning to end.

We’re continuing our exploration of “promises as a structure” by looking at the promises made by the prose of your first line, first paragraph, and first page. What does your first line say about the rest of your book? Did you mean for it to say that? Is your first line writing checks that your later chapters can actually cash?

Liner Notes: We did an eight-episode master class on first lines, pages, and paragraphs with DongWon Song. It begins with 16.27.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson


Write six different 1st lines, each of which makes a promise you don’t think you can keep. Ask yourself WHY you can’t keep it.

3 thoughts on “17.2: It Was a Promise of Three Parts”

  1. This week, the fearsome foursome, Howard, Kaela, Sandra, and Megan took a look at the promises that beginnings make. Overwrought, wreaking, or just wringing? Flip to the middle? Promises, premises, and voice? Tent poles and killer first lines for every chapter? Go ahead and read all about it in the transcript available now in the archives.

  2. You guys should feature Matt Mercer from Critical Role. Not only is his animated series, the Legend of Vox Machina, premiering in like a week or two, but he’s also a fantastic story teller and probably would have a lot to say. Thanks for all that you guys do.

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