What is your favorite opening line?

I need to write an opening paragraph for the anthology of best-selling authors I’ve been invited to.

I have the outline done but not my opening paragraph. What can I tell you, sometimes I procrastinate.

Stop looking at me.

But it made me wonder what some good opening lines to some of your favorite stories are.

So…

What’s your favorite opening line or lines from your favorite book or books???

27 thoughts on “What is your favorite opening line?

  1. I have been having the same problem, coming up with a killer opening line for my next book. Also, I had a dream about you last night. I dreamed that my cat died and I buried it in your garden. (If you want to use this as your opening line, go right ahead.)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sometimes having your opening sentence before you start writing can be good. I particularly like it when you have the title before you come up with the story as I have just done now, although sometimes making a story up as you go along can be fun but there must always be some kind of conflict when you are writing it. I have recently come up with a title for a short story and I have sort of got the beginning in my head but I am not sure where to go with it as off yet.

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    • I think I can safely say I have almost never had the title before I started writing the book.

      Case in point, The Navigators was nicknamed “the fantastic four” or the fantastic five or something like that for much of its first draft. I knew there was already a fantastic four and that I couldn’t call it that, but I didn’t have a better name, you know? I finally got to a point where I kind of realized what a better name would be and I had one of the characters say it to the others.

      They were trying to figure out how to work the time machine and they said we’re going to drive here or fly there or something like that, and the other one said no we’re just gonna put in the coordinates. It’s going to take us there.

      So the first one says, oh. So we are the navigators?

      That’s where that title came from.

      The Water Castle got its name after I had written the first chapter, when I realized the over arching theme was going to be this girl’s process by which she got back and forth to the ancient world. The portal was a tower but when she and her father used to visit there when she was a small child, she called it the water castle. And he played along. that phrase no meaning to anyone other than her and her dad, and when you read that in chapter 1, I think it’s sort of sets the flavor of the story, that even though he passed away he’s kind of present behind the scenes through her and the portal. Which makes a lot more sense when you actually read the story.

      Many of my stories had different names. Poggibonsi was always called that, and that’s kind of a problem because it’s not an easy word to say or remember, but after calling it that for months and months, it just kind of stuck. I don’t recommend that!

      Most of the time while I am writing the story I will get an idea for the title so I’m comfortable with that method now. And if you don’t have a title, I recommend calling your story by the type of story it is as opposed to giving it a nickname, so my current story is called something like “Tyree murder mystery” and the other one is called “library story.” That way I don’t fall in love with a title that ends up being a disaster for marketing purposes.

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    • The classics are classics for a reason, no doubt.

      I didn’t think that was a good opening line when I read it in eighth grade but I have since changed my mind.

      In fact, I did a blog post about opening lines to great books, and many of them had crappy opening lines!

      Like

  3. Your question really got me thinking.I’m having a bit of the same problem. Although I’ve written a few chapters, I’ve gone back several times and rewritten it over and over. So I feel your pain. But thanks for the idea. Revisiting some of my favorite books brought my muse to life. Thanks
    Here is a couple:
    “I open the closet door and hang my wedding dress next to the dress I wore to my mama’s funeral, and then my daddy’s, not two weeks later.” Rebecca D. Elswick. Mama’s Shoes (p. 1). AbbottPress. Kindle Edition.

    “THEY SAY I DIED. My heart stopped, and I was not breathing—in the eyes of the world, I was really dead. Some say I was gone for three minutes, some say four; personally, I am beginning to think death is mostly a matter of opinion.” Fortier, Anne. Juliet: A Novel (Kindle Locations 43-46). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This may or may not be my favorite, but I love it for how brilliantly it sets the stage. You get the rough plot, the a guess at the characters, and also the realization this is the kind of book where the author is going to insert herself.
    It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. – Austen, Pride and Prejudice.

    Liked by 3 people

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