And it’s tougher than ever with today’s impatient readers. Sol Stein, in his book, Sol on Writing, describes an informal study of bookstore browsers. He noticed that browsers first read the front cover then went to the first page. No one read past page three before deciding whether to purchase the book or to put it down. The average time they gave the novelist to convince them? Fewer than seven minutes!
Study the Opening Lines of Some of the Best Novelists
“Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person.” –Anne Tyler, Back When We Were Grownups
“In the time it took for a bullet to travel through her left ear and into the back wall of the donut shop on the corner of Ellis and Polk, Lena McLeonard remembered her past.” Shotby Sarah Quigley.
“In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly-fishing.” Norman Maclean,A River Runs Through It
“The Axe Boy lived downstairs.” –Jonathan Carroll, Bones of the Moon
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . .” –Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis, the Bible
“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.” –Stephen King, The Gunslinger
“There once was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.” –C.S. Lewis, Voyage of the Dawn Treader
“My mother died today, or perhaps it was yesterday.” –Albert Camus, The Stranger
“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” –George Orwell,1984
“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, we hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat; it was a hobbit hole, and that means comfort.” –JRR Tolkien, The Hobbit
What Are Your Favorite Openers?
It would be so nice of you to share!