Have you ever been hooked by the very first line in a book? Have you ever marveled at the opening lines best-selling authors write? Today, we’re going to examine several first lines and discover what secret (or not-so-secret) ingredient draws the reader in and never lets them go.
The first question I want to ask here is: Why? Think of some of the questions you ask yourself as you read these other opening lines. And I know I included two sentences there. Occassionally, I will, because second lines can be very important too.
Some of these opening lines are short and snippy, others long and lyrical. Some instantly start with dialogue, others don’t have dialogue for pages. So what do they all have in common? Where’s the Wow Factor?
Each and every one makes you ask questions, but not mundane questions like: What will Sally cook for dinner? The intriguing questions presented in these opening lines practically demand to be answered.
“They all end with an invisible question mark.”
-K.M. Weiland in Structuring Your Novel
Something else that most of the opening lines imply is that something’s amiss. Either something has gone wrong or possibly will go wrong, though there are a few exceptions such as in Perfected and The Selection. Nothing appears to be wrong, but there is something life-changing that’s about to take place.
In the comment, try to write your own opening line. Here are a few I came up with:
(No, I did not make all of these extraordinary pictures myself. I used
a fantastic program called http://www.quotescover.com)
What are some of your favorite opening lines? What other elements do you try to include in your first lines when you’re writing?