Friday, February 10, 2012
If a book has a great first line, I'm instantly drawn in. As a writer, I obsessively re-write my first line until I think it's fitting. I've re-written the first line in my current WiP about seven times. As a reader, I obsess over really great first lines.
Some of my current favorites:
Maggie Stiefvater, Forever:
"I can be so, so quiet."
Why it works: I could write a several paragraphs gushing about Maggie's writing and why she does so many things very well. In this instance, this line works because it's beautiful. But beyond being beautiful, it's intriguing. Why exactly is the character being quiet? You have to read on to find out.
David Levithan, Love is the Higher Law
"My first thought is: My mother is dead."
Why it works: This is a novel about 9/11, so this line introduces you to the aspect of loss that's center to the story. Spoiler: it also ends up not being true, which is intriguing. End spoiler.
Gayle Forman, If I Stay
"Everyone thinks it was because of the snow."
Why it works: Since this novel is about the aftermath of a horrible car crash, Mia is introducing us to the possible cause of the accident. This line caused me to keep reading and not put this book down until I'd finished it, which is pretty damn rare for me.
What are some of your favorite first lines? Do you obsess over them in your own writing?