I use data more definitive:
If I can check off more than two of the criteria, I know the season has changed.
We’ve developed a ritual, a trade-off for the inconvenience of a runny nose, clogged sinuses, aching joints, and burning foreheads. We’ve created THE NEST. It’s our tactile comfort. It’s our soft place to fall.
A box of tissues and glass of ice water must be within reach and the TV remote cannot leave the sick one’s hand. Illness trumps democracy in program viewing every time.
The all important kiss-on-the-forehead completes THE NEST experience and ensures the Germy One he or she is in good hands.
When a reader sees that all important first line, isn’t he or she seeking the same experience, not to stumble across clunky construction or wade through meandering description but to recognize good storytelling and be given the cue to relax? One sentence needs to answer the questions:
The reader wants to be kissed on the forehead, patted on the shoulder, and told, “This is a soft place to fall. Go ahead and enjoy.”
Think of your favorites, those books you still have on your shelves, and go look at the first sentences for inspiration. I’m sure they deliver.
What is it about that first sentence that provides you THE NEST experience?