Lessons From Novel First Lines

When I’m looking for a writing-avoidance activity, I sometimes google “novel first lines.” That’s where I can find inspiration–not just for the opening of a novel, but for chapter beginnings as well.

There are numerous web sites that list the best X number of first lines. (Will someone please tell me why “Call me Ishmael” so often makes these lists?)

Here are some first lines I like, i.e., words that make me want to read on to find out what’s next:

“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, by Jane Austen

“Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board.” Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston

“This is a tale of a meeting of two skinny, lonesome, fairly old white men on a planet which was dying fast.” Breakfast of Champions, by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

“They shoot the white girl first.” Paradise, by Toni Morrison

“It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they executed the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.” The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath

“On the morning the last Lisbon daughter took her turn at suicide–it was Mary this time, and sleeping pills–the two paramedicsĀ  arrived at the house knowing exactly where the knife drawer was, and the gas oven, and the beam in the basement from which it was possible to tie a rope.” The Virgin Suicides, by Jeffrey Eugenides

“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.” 100 Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Housekeeping Detail for Indie Authors

I recently learned from Tosh McIntosh that Amazon will shut down CreateSpace, which means authors need to move their print titles to KDP. Go to your KDP account, and you’ll find simple directions for moving your book. It took me five minutes.

Your favorite first lines? Leave a comment.

 

 

 

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