Daily Theme from Lauren Oliver

lauren oliverThursday’s Daily Theme was brought to you by Lauren Oliver, author of Before I Fall, Pandemonium, and Delirium. Her latest installment in the Delirium Trilogy, Requiem, follows Lena, who is now a leader in the resistance movement against a government that has branded love as a disease to be eradicated. The Wilds, though once a safe haven, are now dangerous, and Lena is forced to navigate the perils of an all-out revolution.


Lauren Oliver feels crazy lucky to make her living writing. That’s the first thing. She lives in Brooklyn, the happiest place on earth. She loves to cook, is slightly obsessive about her kitchen, drinks way too much coffee and eats far too much ketchup, even on things like toast and tomatoes. She spends a lot of time on trains, airplanes, subways, and buses, and writes constantly–in notebooks, on napkins, using her phone. She has ten tattoos (and counting), a wonderful family, and the world’s best best friends.


Lauren Oliver is also the judge of our current Requiem Contest! She will be reading all of the entries and selecting one grand-prize winner. The winner will get a two-day trip to New York, a tour of HarperTeen, and a year-long column on teen.com! Submit your entry now.

We all know that first impressions–whether in a novel, a short story, or a random assignation in a bar–are important. How important? Editors and agents often look no further than the first sentence when deciding about the caliber of a writer’s work–and readers are just as likely to drop a book if it doesn’t grab their attention right away.

One of my favorite methods for creating an attention-grabbing beginning is to start with a contradictory or startling statement (i.e. one that challenges or complicates our innate beliefs). Take a look at some examples:
1. No matter what people think, being able to fly is actually kind of a bummer.
2. I don’t mind being a werewolf; it’s the transforming-part I hate.
3. Jail is the best thing that ever happened to me.
Get the picture? So go ahead and brainstorm a few contradictory or startling statements–then pick one and start writing!

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