O is for Opening Lines

All writers know the importance of a good opening paragraph. They only have a few lines in order to get the reader hooked and to make them want to read more. Good writers usually equal good openings.

There are lots of list on the Internet of famous opening lines. They are usually from classic novels and they really are “great opening lines” but they don’t always include more modern book.

Well, I have very eclectic taste in novels so I thought, just for the fun of it, I would make my own list.

So, in no particular order, here are Nancy’s 10 favorite opening lines:

1) “When Mr Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.”
– J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

2) “There are some men who enter a woman’s life and screw it up forever. Joseph Morelli did this to me–not forever, but periodically.”
– Janet Evanovich, One For the Money

3) “I’d been waiting for the vampire for years when he walked into the bar.”
– Charlaine Harris, Dead Until Dark

4) “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”
J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
5) “Serene was a word you could put to Brooklyn, New York.  Especially in the summer of 1912. Somber, as a word, was better.”
– Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
6) “The Time Traveller (for so it will be convenient to speak of him) was expounding a recondite matter to us.”
-H.G. Wells, The Time Machine

7) “Marley was dead, to begin with.”
– Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
8) “Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.”
– Margaret Mitchell, Gone With The Wind

9) “The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years – if it ever did end – began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain.”
-Stephen King, It

10) “When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.”
– Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird 

Okay, how did I do? What opening lines would you add?


3 thoughts on “O is for Opening Lines

  1. Love it! So true. I first judge a book by it’s cover (which I know that I should not do, but tis human nature – for books anyway). If that passes the test, then I read the first page. It has to grab me or it goes back on the shelf!

Comments are closed.