New beginnings – or – What happened to my novel’s first sentence?
We talk a lot about how important the first line in a novel is. Everyone knows the famous ones, like “Call me Ishmael.”
Imagine what would happen if the unthinkable occurred. What if the first line were accidentally omitted by the typesetter? Would Moby Dick have been the same if it started, ”Some years ago – never mind how long precisely – having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.” Curious, huh?
I’ve got a quiz for you to try your hand at identifying these famous books by their second lines.
Because that’s what has happened to Glamour in Glass.
When my novel comes out tomorrow, it will be missing the first line. We don’t know how it happened yet, since the last time my editor and I looked at it, the sentence was there. Somehow, that sentence got omitted between here and the printer. The electronic version is being corrected and future editions will have that line, but for now… there are some collector’s editions out there.
The correct first line should be:
There are few things in this world that can simultaneously delight and dismay in the same manner as a formal dinner party.
- Come to one of my signings, I will hand write the missing line into your copy.
- You can download a bookmark with the correction (Right click and choose “save as” to Download the bookmark)
- Download a sticker sheet with corrections and paste it in. (Download GiG errata label)
- Send me a SASE and I’ll send a signed a book plate with the correction. PO Box 221298, Chicago, IL 60622
- Send me a SASE with the book. I’ll correct it and sign it.
- Send me a SASE and ask for a temporary tattoo.
- Wear the t-shirt.
- Wear the apron.
- Or… you can just start with the second line, as printed. It does not break the book.
I do want to stress, by the way, that this happened after the corrections left my editor’s hands. When readers kvetch about editors not editing… well, they do edit. Sometimes things go wrong anyway.
Other corrections also didn’t make it into the book so here’s a short list of things that affect meaning or contain a period error that vexes me.
- Throughout, when the Prince Regent is addressed it should be “sir” and not “your highness.”
- Throughout, Sir Lumley St. George Skeffington should be Sir Lumley, not Lord Lumley. He was a baronet, which was not a noble rank so therefor he wasn’t entitled to the honorific of Lord.
- Eaton should be spelled Eton. It’s the school, not the surname.
- On page 70, the first two paragraphs are missing some text and should read:
Jane consoled herself that once they left the city behind, she would fi nd a more authentic experience of France en route to Belgium as they travelled in La Diligence.
In truth though, the Vincents’ travel from Calais to Binché was little different from any trip in a public carriage, despite the charming name of France’s national system of carriages. The diligence was too crowded for comfort, and the views out the windows— though of unfamiliar scenery— were only glimpsed by twisting one’s neck.
- On page 74 a pistol changes to a musket and shouldn’t.
- The writing desk on page 218 should have only one key, not multiple.
- Assorted other small typos, which I think you can read past without trouble.
So should you wait to buy the book? Please don’t. The only way this gets corrected in hardback is if they sell all of the first edition.