I've been reading a lot of book reviews. One reviewer always includes the first line of the book. I think it's a great idea, and might even start doing that myself.
It got me thinking about the importance of the first sentence. As a writer, you only have a few pages to grab your readers attention. If you can hook them with the first paragraph, or better yet, the first line, it's even better.
- Show a character in trouble, pulling the reader in for more.
- Use a bold statement that has some shock value to make your reader laugh or worry.
- Start at the moment a story becomes inevitable.
- Start in the last moments of a peaceful world, just before everything falls apart.
If you're having trouble getting started, start with the second paragraph. Just because you have to write the first sentence sometime, doesn't mean you have to write it first. It may even be a good idea to leave the opening line for when the story is done. Then, when you know where the story ends up, you'll know where to start.
Here's a sample of first sentences from the books in my reading pile. After reading them, leave me a comment with the first sentence from your book, or another book that you love.
"Ida Mae Babbitt didn't know what cookie to serve with bad news." Secret Sisters by Tristi Pinkston
"When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold." The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
"It was time to say goodbye. She could feel it--the inevitable separation had begun." I'll Know You by Heart by Kimberly Job (Yep! That's me, and I cheated and put the first two sentences.)
"A cool February breeze blew over the desert and swirled around me as my assailant slashed by scarf into strips with his knife." The Sharp Edge of a Knife by D.N. Giles
"Muffled voices outside my door that October morning woke me and took me from a peaceful place to one I'd come to hate." Far from You by Lisa Schroeder
"My breath came faster as I stared ito the shoebox sitting on the counter at my antiques box." Imprints by Rachel Ann Nunes
"Today it finally hit me: I have worn nothing but jammies for an entire year." Gravity vs. the Girl by Riley Noehren
Aren't those great? They all make me want to know more. Now, leave me a comment with your first sentences. I really want to read them. I'll pick my favorites and post them here on my blog.