Sunday, October 14, 2007

Opening lines

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!)


JoAnn said...

Great blog, Mary. The "first line" that came to my mind first is this:

"It wasn't a very likely place for disappearances, at least at first glance."

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.

And boy, was the rest of the book worth it!

Carla Swafford said...

I checked the last two books I've read and the first lines weren't anything to write home about. So instead I'll give the first line out of my manuscript I've been tweaking, getting it ready to mail to an editor this week.

"Serena Parks strode into her office building, grinning with the satisfaction of a well-loved woman."

BTW, I loved Karen Marie Moning's DARKFEVER. The next one in the series comes out the end of this month and I can't wait!

doglady said...

Okay, I'll give it a go.

"Michael Tremayne, the fourth Marquess of Falconridge, had always maintained, both publicly and privately, that Jane Austen had the wrong of it."

Okay, a man accuses Jane Austen of being wrong and several things go through my mind. First, "how dare he!" then "what is she wrong about?" and finally "I have to got to see why this guy thinks this and what he is going to do about it!"

So, yes, it definitely drew me in. And yes, the book was definitely worth reading. The line is from JUST WICKED ENOUGH by Lorraine Heath.

The hero auctions himself, well his title, off to the highest bidding American millionaire father who wants a titled husband for his daughter. It was a great story about two people who each demanded the other person make them happy.

MaryF said...

These are GREAT first lines, it inspires me and raises the bar don't you think? Of course, then, I'll probably start with something like.."Look, its a bird, its a plane...."

If you all have more, tell me more, I like this..

Carla Swafford said...

BTW, DARKFEVER comes out today!! I'm glad to be wrong this time. Now if only Books-a-Million opened in Gardendale today.

MaryF said...

Yay, I am quite looking forward to it! I've had Bloodfever ordered for a month! LOL Now if it would just GET here.