You will never guess what will hook a reader in or have them bored and switching off within seconds? The first line of a story. It is vitally important and so I have been reading first lines in books.

Right now I am going through the book “Writing Life Stories” by Bill Roorbach – the last exercise in the first chapter talks about the importance of first lines. I have to go off to the library, pick up a load of books and read their first line. It made me realise that writing the first line – I need to get it right…

Most of my books at home at non-fiction, self improvement, be your best self type books so they don’t fall into memoirs of fiction books so this isn’t something I can do at home. I want to read 100 first lines and see how that changes my own first lines.

Here are a few great first line-ers that I like:

“Time is not a line but a dimension, like the dimensions of space.”
– Cat’s Eye, Margaret Atwood

writing the first line“My father drank”
– Under the influencer – a personal essay by Scott Russell Sanders

“Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.”
– Gone with the wind, Margaret Mitchell

“The first time I read the ad, I choked and cursed and spat and threw the paper to the floor.”
Ishmael: An adventure of the mind and spirit, Daniel Quinn

“The stranger came early in February, one wintry day, through a biting wind and a driving snow, the last snowfall of the year, over the down, walking as it seemed from Bramblehurst railway station, and carrying a little black portmanteau in his thickly gloved hand.”
– The Invisible Man, H.G. Wells

“Patsy sat by herself at the beginning of the evening, eating a melted chocolate bar.”
– Moving On, by Larry McMurtry


and a few interesting blog posts on writing the first line


Sarah’s Journal: The Writer’s Toolbox: First Lines

http://sarahbethdurst.blogspot.comTue, 28 May 2013 02:42:00 GMT

In these posts, I want to talk about (and hear your thoughts on) nitty-gritty writing stuff, the tools and techniques of the craft of writing. So let’s dive right in… First topic: first lines! Everyone knows the opening line of a story or 

Eye dancers: The First Line  Thurs, 6 June 2013

One blustery, Upstate New York fall day, in the last, waning years of the twentieth century, a Creative Writing Workshop professor presented her class with an impromptu exercise.  I happened to be a student in that class, and I remember the exercise well…


First Lines (again!) And ‘Sunlounger’ Short List | Blog About Writing

http://blogaboutwriting.wordpress.comTue, 21 May 2013 10:53:16 GMT

Last week in my class we talked about writing a gripping first line – ‘a hook’. Whether you’re writing a short story or a novel, the first line is pretty important. On that recent BBC Radio 4 programme, ‘Suspended Sentence’ 


If, like me, you are looking to get into writing flash fiction this blog post made for interesting reading…

What Can We Steal From Jacob Wren’s “The Children’s Book Writer

http://www.greatwriterssteal.comSat, 01 Jun 2013 19:30:58 GMT

Title of Work and its Form: “The Children’s Book Writer,” flash fiction. Author: Jacob Wren (on Twitter @EverySongIveEve) Date of Work: 2013. Where the Work Can Be Found: The story was first published by NANO Fiction, 


I think it is safe to say that writing the first line is a very important element of any book and something I want to ensure I get right from the beginning. The best way for me to get anything right is to keep practising so I will come up with some first lines of my own and add them to the blog. It will be a great way to document how my writing changes over the coming months and years.

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