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.


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

Published by Dan Alatorre AUTHOR

International bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 17 titles published in over a dozen languages. From Romance in Poggibonsi to action and adventure in the sci-fi thriller The Navigators, to comedies like Night Of The Colonoscopy: A Horror Story (Sort Of) and the heartwarming and humorous anecdotes about parenting in the popular Savvy Stories series, his knack for surprising audiences and making you laugh or cry - or hang onto the edge of your seat - has been enjoyed by audiences around the world. And you are guaranteed to get a page turner every time. “That’s my style,” Dan says. “Grab you on page one and then send you on a roller coaster ride, regardless of the story or genre.” Readers agree, making his string of #1 bestsellers popular across the globe. He will make you chuckle or shed tears, sometimes on the same page. His novels always contain twists and turns, and his nonfiction will stay in your heart forever. Dan resides in the Tampa area with his wife and daughter. You can find him blogging away almost every day on www.DanAlatorre or watch his hilarious YouTube show every week Writers Off Task With Friends. Dan’s marketing book 25 eBook Marketing Tips You Wish You Knew has been a valuable tool for new authors (it’s free if you subscribe to his newsletter) and his dedication to helping other authors is evident in his helpful blog.

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.)

    1. You have a cat?

      You know what’s strange about that is, we had a dog for a long time and when he died we buried him in the garden. And we had a cat for a long time and when the cat died, same deal.

      I wonder if I told you that?

      But it’s always sad to dream about a pet dying, that’s for sure!

      As far as using that as my opening line? Hmm…

      1. His name is Terry. I don’t know why I buried him in your back yard. Weird dream! It’s made me a bit sad all day. I’m having to eat cake to take my mind off it.

        1. So Terry is okay? Well, any excuse to eat cake…

          Terry would like our backyard. Lots of kids playing back there all the time. So it’s a happy place.

          But the garden we buried the pets in, that’s in the front yard. A flower garden. We have a few gardens (unfortunately – lots of work) around the house so you can take your pick.

  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.

    1. 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.

  3. “Stepping out of the movie house into bright sunlight, Ponyboy is thinking about two things; Paul Newman and a ride home.”
    S. E. Hinton.

  4. It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. I’m also partial to the opening lines I came up with for the 2nd and 3rd books in my Weaver trilogy.

    1. 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!

  5. ‘Last night I dreamt I went to Manderly again.” REBECCA by Daphne Du Maurer An unforgettable line that sets the stage for this mysterious, troubling classic.

  6. “She wasn’t dead yet.”
    Opening of a romantic suspense book I read years ago. I think the author was Lisa Gardner but don’t recall – lot of books through the brain since then – but I remember that line. 🙂

  7. 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.

    1. Those are really good. Thanks for sharing them!

      Somebody once said you can’t write the beginning until you write “the end.”I think I agree. Get it down and then worry about how it starts.

  8. 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.

  9. This is the opening line from a western historical on my to-be-written shelf: “With any luck you’ll be roasting in hell by sundown.” I just love that line – but then, I wrote it 🙂

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