The first sentences of a novel – whether you read online or pick up a book from the shelf at the library or bookstore – are extremely important.
It’s the doorway into the world of the story and the entrance can be as ornate, or as sparely beautiful and as varied as there are doorways in the world.
The first lines of a novel should do a few things:
It should hook you into the story
It can set the tone, the setting and introduce character
Above all it establishes the Author’s voice – a sort of singular DNA that runs throughout the entire story
Enchanting first sentences don’t come easy – they’re something that a writer works and reworks until it’s perfect.
Stephen King devoted an entire essay on the topic: “Why Stephen King Spends ‘Months and Even Years’ Writing Opening Sentences” in an article in The Atlantic magazine.
In the first of my video series Fun with First Lines, I picked 3 genre novels at random from my personal library (excepting all the books on my e-reader – I’ll do that next time around) and read the opening lines.
Take a gander. Try to figure out the genres…It’s fun!