One-liners…The Writer’s Pick Up Line and More

After two weeks of the post-graduation (that’s right, I’m a Master now) watching of stupid TV shows (read: decompression), I’ve finally been feeling up to writing again. Specifically, I feel like working on my southwestern mystery, which is tentatively titled They Called Her La Llorona.

What does this mean? I’ve been rethinking my mystery plot and tweaking it to be amazing–no questions asked. It also means that I’ve been a doing bunch of  craft/plot related research as well. And this flurry of activity has reminded me of something I once knew but had forgotten (or, you know, arrogantly disregarded):

It helps to start your plotting with a one-liner (or a tagline, if you’re in showbiz).

If you don’t believe me, just keep reading. Thinking about a one-liner has forced me to rethink the beginning of my novel: the inciting incident. Turns out, I started my story in the wrong place. It also made me rethink POV. I’d been writing a third-person POV, which would have been okay if I were writing a thriller (which this could be, admittedly, if I weren’t so stubborn in my vision) but is not necessarily the best choice in a more hard-boiled, P.I. style novel.

That said, I’m way too close to the problem to unbiasedly decide which one-liner is the most intriguing and  works best for my story. That’s where you come in. I’m listing the rough one-liners I’ve come up with so far. I’d love it if you, my loyal audience, would chime in with your opinion:

  1. Confronted with a string of bizarre murders made to look like drownings, recently retired Marshal, Jesse Clacher, must track down a killer and set things right with his wife and daughter–before more women die. 
  2. When a barefoot Hispanic woman in a tattered, white dress stumbles into town wailing about the death of her children, retired Marshal Jesse Clacher is forced to seek the help of his estranged daughter in order solve the case and save the woman.
  3. When La Llorona crashes his retirement party wailing about the deaths of two young girls, Jesse Clacher sees it as an opportunity to start his P.I. business–and make peace with his estranged daughter.

 Personally, I like #2 the best, with #1 coming in a close second. But I think that #3 is interesting because of its unexpectedness (which may or may not be good, considering that I’m aiming for more of a hard-boiled feel and less of a comedic style like a cozy or a caper).

Which do you like best and why?

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