Jessica Leake

The first sentence of a book. I think some would argue it's the single most important sentence, save for maybe the last. It has to pull some serious weight by drawing in a reader. That's a lot of pressure! So I thought it might be fun to share our favorite first lines, or the first lines from one of our WIPs. 

Here's the first line of my all-time favorite novel, Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice :

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

It's a little bit facetious, isn't it? Especially since it leads into her hilariously one-track minded mother. Not only does it set up the premise of the whole book, but it's also a commentary on the social norms of the time. It draws the reader in by being an intriguing statement in an of itself. 

Side note: this totally makes me want to watch A&E's Pride & Prejudice with Colin Firth. Um, yeah. All 6 hours of it. I don't even care. 

So let's see your fav first lines, or better yet, the first lines of your WIPs!
3 Responses
  1. Kelsey Sandy Says:

    I love this idea! Will we be doing it every week? Because this post made me grab all my favorite books off my shelf and remember why I loved them all over again. I want to list about 5 great first lines! But, if we're doing it every Friday...I'll save them.

    One of my favorite Alice Hoffman novels, The River King , begins:

    The Haddan School was built in 1858 on the sloping banks of the Haddan River, a muddy and precarious location that had proven disastrous from the start.

    I love this first line because it grounds the story in place: a place with history, with nature, with the promise of a "disastrous" plot to follow.

    It is clear that this first line was the inspiration for my WIP's first line:

    It was 1929 when the residents of Cline, Texas watched nervously as the “sold” sign appeared outside the Clark estate, when a bus unloaded four nuns and six young girls with swollen bellies, when the wooden sign was erected that read “Saint Therese’s Home for Girls.”

  2. Yeah! That's what I was hoping for--I think it would be really fun.

    I love the Alice Hoffman line you picked! It's great when the first line provides some foreshadowing.

    You can definitely see the influence in yours, but I think your line really paints a picture of the setting. I can imagine all those people gawking at the sign...and then at the occupants of the bus!

    Here's my first line from my current WIP (subject to change, of course):

    "The night my friends and I accidentally summoned a demon started out innocent enough."

  3. Marcia Says:

    Jessica, I think I have to agree that this may be my favorite first line of all time.

    I like the one from Little Women too, which is, if memory serves, "Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents."