Posted at May 6, 2020

Top 5 Fantastic First Lines of Novels (Writers, You Can Learn Something Here)

The first lines of these books will hook you from the beginning.  Isn’t that what these imperative sentences are supposed to do?  Writers, pay attention.  You can learn something from these lines…


“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.”
 —The Catcher in The Rye, by J.D. Salinger.
This beginning sentence offers the exact tone of the rest of the novel, introduces the main character’s personality and voice, and lastly, hooks readers by starting off unlike some novels that might mention the entire background of the character.


“I was seventeen years old when I saw my first dead body.”
 —Where Things Come Back, by John Corey Whaley.
Immediately, the author introduces a mysterious idea.  Readers, therefore, want to instantly know what this line implies, and they want to know all the information behind it.  Who is the dead body?  Why was the narrator seeing it?  Exactly.  Make the readers feel that desire to keep reading.


“The most important things are the hardest things to say.”
   —The Body, by Stephen King.
This line makes readers feel some sort of emotion, setting a soul-stirring tone that continues throughout the novel.  Here, the author implies a bit of foreshadowing for what’s to come later in the novel, alluding to the hard things that will be said.


“The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle.”
     —Paper Towns, by John Green.
Ah, this line sets up a lovely narrative where the speaker will continue a nice description or explanation of something.  This into doesn’t begin with action; it begins the book with a statement that typically introduces in a very subtle and enjoyable way the characters, story, and setting.


“Is today a good day to die?”
   —All The Bright Places, by Jennifer Niven.
Beginning with a question?  That’s a yes.  Authors do this in order to undoubtedly hook the reader.  This question, however, should remain unanswered so readers won’t get bored once the author has answered it in the second line.  Depending on the question, this is a good way to introduce the plot without giving away anything or saying too much.



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