It was a dark and stormy night.
No, that does not work. I see Snoopy typing that in the cartoon strip.
Hark, what light through yonder window breaks….
Nope, that doesn’t do it either, that has been so over done (Sorry Shakespeare).
Opening lines, they are a necessity and if you do it right, it makes the reader keep on going. Do you struggle with it? I have and still do. Sometimes I look at the books I am reading and write down the opening sentence just to see it clearly. Here are a few first sentences that I have found:
Every smiley moon, without fail, Claire dreamed of her childhood.
-Garden Spells, by Sarah Addison Allen
Kaye took another drag on her cigarette and dropped it into her mother’s beer bottle.
-Tithe, by Holly Black
I knew I was in trouble as soon as I saw the obituary.
-Touch the Dark, by Karen Chance
The halls of Bixby High School were always hideously bright on the first day of school.
-Midnighters, by Scott Westerfeld
My philosophy is pretty simple—any day nobody’s trying to kill me is a good day in my book.
-Darkfever, by Karen Marie Moning
These are all out of books I have read in the last year or so. They all intrigue me. How about you? Do you want to find out why Claire is dreaming of her family or why Kaye likes to be nasty to her mother? Does it make you wonder why an obituary is unnerving and does the description of the starkness on the first day of school bring back memories? Don’t you just want to find out why the person is happy when no one is trying to kill her? I know I did.
Here is my challenge to you, write the first line of a book you are reading, show me what has drawn you in; then tell me, was that first line worth reading the rest of the book? (The ones above were!)