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Opening Lines

What is in a good opening line? Is it worth agonising over weeks on end? Is it the first thing you write or the last? What makes you keep reading the second line, the third and so on? Can you fail the first line, but have a great first page, or first chapter?

So many questions, I don’t have answers, not to any of them. If you think you do, please let me know!

For now, take a look at the first lines of some of the books I’ve been reading recently, and some favourites thrown in too:

  • “When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold.” The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
  • “When we came into the world, silent and cowled, my sister and I were attached by our big toes.” True Born, L.E. Sterling
  • “The screw through Cinder’s ankle had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle.” Cinder, Marissa Meyer
  • “If ever there was a place for the zombie apocalypse, this could be it, thought Rose, shivering in the wind, which felt like it had blown direct from Antarctica to the Shingle Valley.” Rose’s Vintage, Kayte Nunn
  • “Kelsea glynn sat very still, watching the troop approach her homestead.” The Queen of the Tearling, Erika Johansen
  • “I am merely copying out here, word for word, what was printed today in the State Gazette: In 120 days from now the building of the INTEGRAL will be finished.” We, Yevgeny Zamyatin
  • “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy.
  • “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell
  • “All children, except one, grow up.” Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie
  • “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

What are some of your favourite opening lines?

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