A visit to your local bookstore provides a wealth of inspiration in successful first lines. These novel openings survived the rejections of agents and editors and made it (along with the rest of the novel) into print. I find it fascinating simply to pull novel after novel off shelves to read those first lines that successful authors used to capture readers' interest and lure them into a new story. Sound fun? Then check out these sample first lines from various authors, and then consider your own opening sentences.
"Three men watched intently as peculiar events occurred, one after the other, on opposite sides of the globe." (Safely Home, by Randy Alcorn)
"The sultry breeze carried not a single hint that the summer afternoon would give birth to the worst aviation disaster in American history." (The Note, by Angela Hunt)
"Well, now, ain't that a purty sight?" (Opal, by Lauraine Snelling)
"The swastika medallion dangled from the limb of the Christmas tree." (While Mortal Sleep, by Jack Cavanaugh)
"Down to the last day, even the last hour now." (The Testament, by John Grisham)
"He first thought of his feet." (Enoch, by Alton Gansky)
"When the tiny dart hit Pierre Sirois behind his right ear, his right hand reached up as though to swat an insect." (Mission Compromised, by Oliver North)
"Ryan was nearly killed twice in half an hour." (Patriot Games, by Tom Clancey)
"The first wave of pain seized his chest like a vice grip so that his hand flew to his heart and he gasped for breath." (Where Yesterday Lives, by Karen Kingsbury)
Each of these lines begins novels representing a variety of genres. In each case, though, the author has carefully crafted that beginning. Even before you know what's happening or exactly who is involved, these writers tease us into wondering what will follow.
Chances are, if you've read this far, you just might be a writer, too. Want to share the first line of a favorite novel? Or, is anyone brave enough to share a first line from your own work in progress?