Monday, June 13, 2011

The Other First Lines

“All children, except one, grow up.”
Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie
“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”
1984, George Orwell
"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

Brilliant. Grabbing. Memorable. These opening lines have it all. I could name a few more of my favorites, but I won’t. This post isn’t about those first lines. It’s about the other ones – the first lines we read in the book, though the last the author writes. I’m talking about dedications.  
I am fascinated by dedications. It is the last glimpse I have of the author before I go on the journey he or she has set before me and make it my own.  They range from the poignant to the hilarious, but they share one thing in common: they are the truth beneath the author’s wings that allowed imagination to take flight.
I’ve put together a small collection of dedications that I thought you might enjoy:

“To Vic Lovell for telling me that dragons don't exist, and then leading me to their lair.”
Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

“My Dear Lucy,
I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand, a word you say, but I shall still be your affectionate Godfather, C. S. Lewis”
C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

“The dedication of this book is split seven ways: to Neil, to Jessica, to David, to Kenzie, to Di, to Anne, and to you, if you have stuck with Harry until the very end.
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows

Here are dedications from a series:
Book 1: City of Golden Shadow
“This Book is dedicated to my father Joseph Hill Evans with love.
Actually Dad doesn’t read fiction, so if someone doesn’t tell him about this, he’ll never know.”
Book 2: River of Blue Fire
“This Book is dedicated to my father Joseph Hill Evans with love.
As I said before, Dad doesn’t read fiction. He still hasn’t noticed that this thing is dedicated to him. This is Volume Two – let’s see how many more until he catches on.”
Book 3: Mountain of Black Glass
“This is still dedicated to you-know-who, even if he doesn’t.
Maybe we can keep this a secret all the way to the final volume.”
Book 4: Sea of Silver Light
“My father still hasn’t actually cracked any of the books – so, no, he still hasn’t noticed. I think I’m just going to have to tell him. Maybe I should break it to him gently.
‘Everyone here who hasn’t had a book dedicated to them, take three steps forward. Whoops, Dad, hang on there for a second...' “
Tad Williams, Otherland series

“You know how it is. You pick up a book, flip to the dedication, and find that, once again, the author has dedicated a book to someone else and not to you.
Not This Time.
Because we haven't yet met/have only a glancing acquaintance/are just crazy about each other/haven't seen each other in much too long/are in some way related/will never meet, but will, I trust, despite that, always think fondly of each other...
This one's for you.
With you know what, and you probably know why. “
Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys

I’ve saved my all time favorite for last…
For Colin Firth--You're a really great guy, but I'm married, so I think we should just be friends.
Shannon Hale, Austenland
Do you have any favorite dedications in mind? Or better yet, what dedication would you write? 


khashway said...

Okay, now I have to go check out some dedication pages. I have to admit that when I was querying agents I used to go straight to the acknowledgements and skip the dedications. I think it's time to go back to the dedications.

Tanya Reimer said...

Oh I love dedications and these are awesome. My current WIP would read, "To my husband, because he likes it when I break the rules."

DEZMOND said...

HE HE love the Colin Firth one :) I would so gonna do something like that one :)

Kate Evangelista said...

When I wrote my first novel, I knew who I would dedicate it to. When I wrote my second novel, I knew who I would dedicate it to. Now that I'm writing my fourth novel, I don't know who I'll dedicate it to. Maybe that's a good sign that fortune will soon smile down at me.

Diana Hallare said...

Great post - I've enjoyed the humor in the dedications. Have you made your dedication lines (in Before Ever After) creative too? It would be interesting if it dealt with or even slightly mentioned time travel...Your great humor would also give it spice.

Traci said...

Those are fantastic - thanks for sharing!

angel011 said...

I'd probably dedicate the book to those who inspired me to write it; since my next book will have 20+ short stories, and different stories were inspired by different people, that would be a lot of dedications. :)

The Golden Eagle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MuMuGB said...

I love the Colin Firth's one. I would dedicate my book to all the people who helped me. Fellow bloggers mainly!

The Golden Eagle said...

Ack, I made a typo. I don't like leaving up the comments with typos. :P

I love reading the dedications in books!

One that stuck with me (although I don't remember the names the author mentioned) was "Let us continue to beat those dead horses into the ground" from the The Iron King.

Kathy said...

What a fun post!! Now I'm going to have to look at all the dedications of my favorite books!!! I always enjoy my visits to your site and can't wait to see who you dedicated your book to!! Take care!!

Mieke Zamora-Mackay said...

I enjoyed that.

I particularly loved the one to Colin Firth. I have my own brit boy to write a dedication to, but it would be insanely embarassing. LOL!

I can't wait to see your first line and to whom you dedicated your book to.

Meredith said...

Haha, I love the one where his father never caught on! Too funny. And I must read Austenland, now. I love dedications and acknowledgements!

Juliette Sobanet said...

That last one was hilarious! Great post!

Katie @ Chicken Noodle Gravy said...

Sam, this has to be one of my favorite blog posts EVER. Yes, I said EVER. I read the dedication page of books, but I don't think I've ever read any as great as those you've listed. This was a great topic and one that I will carry with me every time I open a new book.

Elizabeth Young said...

Great blog post Samantha, thanks for sharing those precious nuggets of information! When my book is published I will dedicate it to my children, who have taught me how to love unconditionally.

KLZ said...

I don't think I could ever truly write a book. But a dedication - now that, I could do with aplumb.

You know, assuming I'm using that word correctly and didn't just make it up.

stacey said...

Sam, I'm so glad you're back! I've been trying and blogger wouldn't let me comment. I love these dedications.
I think I like the second to last the best!

Scrollwork said...

Had a great guffaw over the dedication to the father! Since I am not writing a book, I might just do a dedication on my blog's About section, and encourage blogger visitors to write one, too. As always, you inspire such fab ideas!

Joy Page Manuel said...

Shannon Hale's is BRILLIANT! Hahaha! I've never thought of dedications this way before so THANK YOU SO MUCH. You've once again opened up a whole new world for me. :-))

Kenya D. Williamson said...

Great post, Sam! I loved the Otherland dedications. But, I enjoyed them all. :) Now, you've got me going through my bookshelves. I just found this one (from The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman):

"This book is dedicated to the memory of my grandmother, Mrs. Julia McVay, my stepfather, Mr. Ralph Norbert Colar, Sr. and to the memory of my beloved aunt, Miss Augusteen Jefferson, who did not walk a day in her life but who taught me the importance of standing."

I'll have to do better in my next book! :D

Jennifer Hillier said...

What an awesome post! I still remember the dedication by C.S. Lewis. I remember thinking Lucy was a very lucky girl, whoever she was and wherever she was. :)

Mama Mia said...

Hehehe...I enjoyed that tremendously! I always read the dedication part of novels but never looked at them the same way you do. You never fail to inspire and teach me new ways of looking at things Sam! Thanks for that!

I particularly love Hale's dedication to Colin Firth. But (aaarrgh) she beat me to it! Since I don't think I can write a novel, I'm thinking I should dedicate my blog to Mr. Firth (plus Mr. Tom Hanks). Hmmm...what do you think? :D

Have a bless-filled week!

Dizzy C said...

The CS Lewis dedication is so lovely,
the Austinland one is funny :)


Dafeenah said...

I love the one from the guy to his father. That is hilarious! My favorite dedication though is a secret. lol

Jessica said...

I love, love, love these, especially the one from CS Lewis. I'm so glad you commented on my post at Taming Insanity so I would have the chance to visit you here. Some day I would love to write my own book. Best of luck to you on the journey!

Marcie said...

I love dedications! CS Lewis has the best one I think. Thanks for sharing these!!!!

Cathy K said...

I will dedicate my first novel to my beloved Kuan Yin, goddess of mercy and compassion, because writing ain't no bed of posies and a generous dose of mercy keeps me sane as I wade through the muck...

Julie said...

Oh these are all great! I love reading the dedications too, thanks for sharing these. Love the one from Austenland, how cute!

Susan Fields said...

I looove that last one! That's perfect!

Stephanie Faris said...

I think often about the dedications I'll do when I'm published someday. I have so many and I want to put them all in the first book!

Lynda R Young said...

lol these are fantastic. Looks like I'll have to read the dedications more. Visiting from Dezzy.

L.G.Smith said...

These are great.

And Dezzy sent me too. :)

Pearson Report said...

You had me on the first "first line"! I'm such a huge J.M. Barrie fan - that line truly is my all time favourite!

Then to follow it up with Jane Austen's P&P line, well, let's just say...I had to hit the Follow Button!

You've been highly recommended by Dez - my favourite Hollywood Spy!

I'll be back,

K.C. Woolf said...

Great choices. :-)

(I have no time to comment more - need to go rewrite my WIP's dedication.)

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Kelly - I think you'll be surprised by some of the witty and inspiring dedications out there :D

Tanya - Now THAT dedication ROCKS!

Dezmond!!! Thanks for sending so many of your cool friends this way!!!

Kate - I have no doubt that great things are on the way, my friend.

Diana - You'll have to wait and see ;-)

Traci - Glad you liked them!

Angel - That's very sweet and generous of you to do that :D

MuMuGB - I've mentioned blogging friends in my acknowledgements page too :-)

Golden Eagle - Wow. That's a powerful one!

Kathy - I think it took me longer to write my dedication and acknowledgements than it took me to write a chapter in the book. LOL

Mieke - Oooh! Now I'm intrigued by your dedication!

Meredith - You can't go wrong with a dedication like that, right? :D

Juliette - Thanks! :-)

Katie - Yay! So glad you enjoyed the post!!!!!

Elizabeth - I'm sure your kids will be thrilled to have your lovely book dedicated to them :-)

KLZ - Okay. I just snorted my ice tea out of my nose. LOL!!!

Stacey - Jennifer (Seredipity's Library) told me how to fix the comment thingy. I just adjusted my settings - fingers crossed!

Scrollwork - A blog dedication is an AWESOME idea!!!

Joy - Isn't hers so cool??? I officially have dedication-envy! :D

Kenya - I love that one! Absolutely inspiring. Wow, just wow.

Jennifer - Can't wait to read your dedication for CREEP!

Mia - Haha! Go for it!!!!! :D

Carol - Glad you liked them!

Dafeenah - Hey! You can't leave us hanging like that ;-)

Jessica - Hi! Thanks for stopping by! I'm glad our paths crossed in the blogosphere :D

Marcie - It was my pleasure :-)

Cathy - I hear you, my friend!!!

Julie - I only wish i thought of that dedication myself. ;-)

Susan - Isn't it BRILLIANT?? I was literally green with envy when I read it. :D

Stephanie - I know what you mean! The act of writing a book may be a solitary activity, but so many people actually inspire it.

Lynda - So glad you stopped by! *offers a welcome brownie*

L.G. - Hi! So great to meet you! Dezzy is the BEST. :D

Jenny - What would we do without our Dezzy fix? Glad you hopped over!

K.C. - You must share it when you're done! :D

DEZMOND said...

I'm glad my ladies, Lynda, Jenny, LG and KC dropped over for a visit, Sammy :)

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Dezzy - They're made of awesome sauce - like you! :-)

Anonymous said...

I love looking at the dedications, but also at the quotes. Some authors do it, some don't, but it's always such a great way to begin a book.

Recently saw your YouTube book trailer and it's lovely. I love the song! Good luck!

I.A.S.Hernandez said...

i love authors who dedicate a page for a poem that speaks in the same line of the novel. and most of all, i loved Neil Gaiman's dedication for Anansi Boys. i remember reading it and having that warm fuzzy feeling that someone has taken their time to dedicate a novel to the readers, the strangers, the poets, the lovers and the like. :)