In today’s society, modern conveniences have spoiled us to instant gratification. We live in a rush, rush world and have little time or patience for waiting…for anything. For me, back when I was younger, reading a novel meant a lengthy relationship that I settled into, one in which I allowed myself time to become engaged. Today, I’m too busy for that nonsense. Hook me right away or lose me.
You don’t really have to hook readers with the very first line, but definitely within the first few pages. Opening lines, however, are important. A great first line should intrigue readers, make them ask a question (or questions), and make them want to read on to learn the answer(s). If you can hook the reader with the very first line, you have done your job. Besides, creating a compelling and clever first line is so much fun!
Some of my favorite first lines are…
“The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years — if it ever did end — began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain.” ~ From It by Stephen King
“The trouble with dead people today was they had no sense of decorum.”
From Keys to the Coven by Vicky Lobel
“Nathan Rubin died because he got brave.” From Die Trying by Lee Child
“I sat in the back pew and watched the only woman I would ever love marry another man.” From Six Years by Harlen Coben
A few first lines from my novels…(I should have led with these since they are a bit pathetic compared to those above :))
“Gravel and blood filled Audra Grayson’s mouth, but she’d long ago lost the strength to spit it out.” From Soul Seducer
“Ivy drew the arrow back, zeroing in on the elderly man’s chest.” From Cupid’s Beau
“I think about dead people a lot.” From Death Offerings
Do these opening lines make you ask questions? Make you want to read more to get the answers?
Beware…if you hook them with the first line, you have to deliver and keep up the momentum. Don’t work hard on a great first line, then fall flat right after.
What about you? What are some of the best opening lines you’ve read? Or written?
If you’d like to leave an opening line from a work in progress and ask for feedback, I would be happy to take a look and comment.
Alicia Dean lives in Edmond, Oklahoma. She writes suspense and paranormal romance and is a freelance editor, as well as an editor for The Wild Rose Press (as Ally Robertson). Find her at…Website: www.AliciaDean.com Twitter: @Alicia_Dean_ Facebook: Alicia Dean