As a writer, half the battle of capturing your reader’s attention is won or lost in the first line. Capture their interest– hook them– and they’ll accord you extra time to do the things you need to do. Provide a bland or boring opening, and you’d better have an explosion arriving real quick, because there’s a new episode of Duck Dynasty on the tube and someone’s cooking sausages.
(Of course, you can take my advice for what it’s worth by noting that the greatest play ever written starts with the first line, “Who’s there?”)
Over the course of my career I’ve written some cracking opening lines (if I do say so myself) and some that have done little more than provide the literary equivalent of lobbing the ball over the next just so the other player can return serve.
Here are five of my best.
Five for Friday: First Lines
The storm had turned the world into a swirl of broken lines.
Disciple of the Torrent, Great Southern Land, Satalyte Publishing, 2013.
We fell upon Moscow like hungry dogs.
The Emperor of Moscow, Europa Universalis IV: What If?, Paradox Press, 2014.
It was the second sunrise of the day.
Father Muerte and the Rain, Aurealis #33/34/25, 2004.
The first night, all he hears are screams.
Through Soft Air, Borderlands #1, 2003.
The only parts of this story that exist are the man and the knife.
Truthful Remains, Black Box, Brimstone Press, 2008.