Monday, August 11, 2008

First lines

It's a shame ... no, it's regrettable that I'm challenged, to put it mildly, by beginnings, since the opening pages are the threshold of the story. That's the one chance we have to welcome the reader in or to turn him or her away. And as I struggle to revise my own beginning (of my book; not of myself) that I think of how others have done it.

Even down to the level of the first line. Here are a few that come to mind ... meaning that they and their books must be memorable since I've accidentally memorized them. These are from my hazy memory and may not withstand a Google search! What beginnings linger in your memory?

When Augustus came out on the porch, the pigs were there.

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.

It is a fact universally acknowledged that a man in possession of a fortune must be in want of a wife.

The music room in the Governor's mansion was a shining octagon of polished wood....

"Too many!" said Will.

Roger was being a ship.

The small boys came early to the hanging.

I wear the ring.

1 comment:

Kenneth said...

Best first line I ever read, though it was from an ultimately pretty disappointing and self-indulgent book:

" 'We need you to kill a man,' he said."

First line of Heinlein's "The Cat Who Walks Through Walls."