First Lines

Posted November 13, 2012 by elizatilton in Uncategorized / 10 Comments

We’ve all seen the contests for first lines, and many of us have gone crazy trying to make our first lines perfect.

I decided to take a look at a bunch of my favorite books and their first lines.

Let’s see what you think.

Everyone knows I’m perfect—PERFECT CHEMISTRY
They called the world beyond the walls of the Pod “The Death Shop”–UNDER THE NEVER SKY
Gram is worried about me–THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE
There is a world where elves dance beneath the stars, where the footsteps of humanfolk trace restles paths in ever-widening circles—DAUGHTER OF THE DROW
‘Twas known before the Isle of Britain’s history was put to quill that the bard Grat-Telor was as olden as the hollow tors of the Isle of Might–LEGEND OF THE EMERALD ROSE
Ten years ago, on my sixth birthday, my father disappeared–THE IRON KNIGHT

And now, a classic.

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth–CATCHER IN THE RYE

You can see how a few of the lines are intriguing and how some ring with voice. It’s not easy deciding what to write first.

What do you think of the above lines? Would you buy any of the books based solely on those few words?

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10 responses to “First Lines

  1. First lines are so important. Thanks for putting up some fine examples. I prefer a dash of intrigue or surprise in a first line rather than voice, but that's just me. 🙂

  2. I'll read a full page to decide if I want to buy a book or not, but a great first line will make that decision so much easier—and faster. 😉

  3. No. I'd never decide on a first line. I think I've only ever been gripped at line one twice. A good first paragraph yes… And a first page that makes me turn to the second page.