Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ready. Set. Read!

“Call me Ishmael.”

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

“It was a drag queen’s worst nightmare.”

A good opening line doesn’t always mean that you’re in for an entertaining read, but it’s an auspicious start. It sets the tone. It pulls you into a story. It should give the reader an idea of what kind of book is in store. And it’s often the hardest part of a book to write.

Of the three lines above, two are classics and one is mine. Can you guess which one?

No. I did not write A Tale of Two Cities. But thank you for thinking I'm that old.

“It was a drag queen’s worst nightmare” is the opening line to DRAMA! The Four Dorothys. It’s my favorite first line that I’ve ever written. And I didn’t even write it. I "borrowed" it from a friend (with her permission) who responded with that quote when I told her the plot of the story. But how could I not use it? That line totally encapsulated the tone of the entire book series in just seven words. That’s a lot to ask from a sentence.

Which leads me to wonder if any of you have a favorite opening line? Either from books you’ve read or books you’ve written? Enquiring minds want to know.


codelyokoaleita said...

hey. if i had a idea 4 a story do u think maby simon pulse could puplish it if i email the story to them or have to meet up with them or something. i already got 1 chapter done.

Jennifer Echols said...

Codelyokoaleita, usually you need a literary agent to sell a book to Simon Pulse, so that would be your first step. Good luck!

Micol Ostow said...

That's an awesome first line. I know Scott Westerfeld has done a few blog posts on his fave first lines, as well. I'm not sure that mine would hold up to scrutiny--eep!
But as it happens, I've got a copy of LA Candy, the book "written" by Lauren Conrad of "The Hills," right next to me.
Let 'er rip...
"Jane Roberts leaned against her dresser, studying the way her white silk nightie looked against her sun-kissed skin."

Hmm...that sounds about right.

P.J. Ruditis said...

LA Candy is on my reading list too. Much like the accident on the side of the road that everyone must slow down to look at.