First Lines…

Sometimes, hearing a well-known opening sentence can immediately conjure up the rest of a famous story for us. That’s all it takes. One sentence. For example: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,…” (Anyone NOT know what book that’s from?) Or how about “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” (Yes, I’m a Harry Potter fan!) I’m sure if we thought about it for a few minutes, we’d come up with plenty more examples.

Everything one reads on the art of story-telling stresses the importance of grabbing the reader right off the bat with that opening sentence. I’ve got both a novel and a children’s picture book manuscript in progress. One of them starts with the line, “R—- kicked hard at the cardboard box that blocked her bedroom doorway.” The other starts, “F—– the Frog had nothing to do.” Hopefully, they’ll lead the reader to ask questions like Why was there a box in her doorway? Why did she kick it? Or Is something going to happen to the frog since she’s got nothing to do? Either that or they’ll lead this writer to ask How could I make these introductions a whole lot more interesting?? 😉

Anyway, I’ve got two questions for you…and I’d love to hear your answers! First, can anyone tell me what children’s book starts with the line, “It was a dark and stormy night.”?  (A great book, by the way!) And second, can you share the first line of one of your favorite books? Let’s see if the rest of us can guess where it came from…


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