Monday, January 17, 2011

First Lines- welcome to my world

Twenty six letters mixed together in a seemingly random order creates words.  Words create sentences.  All sentences need two things a subject and a verb.  Of course you can get fancy and throw in a prepositional phrase, or an absolute phrase.

After lots of sentences, lots of words eventually a novel is born.

So why is the first line so important?

Well reading a book is a big commitment and  you as the reader have to be willing to make that commitment.  The author's job is to make you care and the sooner the better.

 Here's a few of the first sentences of a few books I've either read or want to read

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
"Frankie Perino and I were lucky that day.  Lucky to be alive-that's what everyone said."

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
"First the colors.  Then the colors. That's usually how I see things. Or at least, how I try."

Paper Town by John Green
The way I see it, everyone gets a miracle.

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
There were dragons when I was a boy.

Here are the opening lines of books on my To Read List

What I saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell
"The match snapped, then sizzled, and I woke up fast."

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
"Miri woke to the sleepy bleating of a goat."

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
" 'You've got to be kidding me,' the bouncer said, folding his arms across his massive chest."

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
"' Claire? It's Rachel. I'm afraid I have some bad news.'"

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
"There thing I know this second: I have morning breath, I'm naked, and I'm waking up next to a boy I don't know."

What do they have in common?  They're awesome.

What's your favorite first line to a book?
Do any of those first lines make you want to read the book?  Why?

This week I'm focusing on the first few pages of your book.  This week there will be a Contest on Friday--  Fricking Awesome First Lines.
  • You will need to e-mail or post your first line in the comments on Thursday's post. 
  • You need to be a follower of the blog. 
  • Vote for your favorite on Friday.
  • Winner will get a $10 gift card and a 10 page critique from me.


  1. I love a killer opening line. My fave up there would have to be The Mockingbirds. It's in my TBR pile for a reason. :) BTW, great idea for a contest!

  2. I voted for The Mockingbirds. I'm reading it right now, and that first line def packs a punch! Some good choices up there!

    My favorite opening line is probably from SPEAK, "It is my first morning of high school. I have seven new notebooks, a skirt I hate, and a stomachache." I loved Melinda from that first line.

  3. "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit"
    I like this first line because it sets up the feel of the rest of the book. I like the rhythm of the words.

  4. i love first lines!

    i always pay attention to what they are when opening a new book.

    loved this whole post.

    have you read the Messenger by Markus Zusak? That's not only one of my fave first lines but also one of my fave firts chapters ever :)

    x Nomes