Every so often, we open the doors of WITS to our readers. We like hearing what you’re up to in your writing, and October, the first full month of Fall and the month before NaNoWriMo, is a great time for this. Today, we’d love to hear your first lines for a new manuscript or short story. If that sounds daunting today, give us the first line of your new chapter, or the first line of a favorite book. We want to make it easy!
Fabulous first lines tend to stick with all of us. We ponder them, agonize over them, rewrite them, and rewrite them again. And more than once, we’ve actually purchased a book based on a breathtaking first line or paragraph.
Plus, a good first line is quotable.
Great First Lines
“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” – George Orwell, 1984
“124 was spiteful.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved
“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.” – Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.” – C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Also, our own Laura Drake has offered some great advice on writing a winning first line here.
But today, it’s your turn to entertain or wow us with your opening lines. If you can’t think if anything, share a favorite from someone else. Give us the title and genre, then your opening line(s). Feel free to comment on others’ as well, and tag your writing friends on the post so they can share theirs!
We’ll get you started.
“I begged. I pleaded. ‘No. I will not buy you a bike. If you got hurt it would be my fault.’ What an odd reason not to give your child a bicycle?” – The Brown Schwinn, a short story
“I, Eliott, descendant of the Asian leopard cat, have been relegated to the back seat amongst the luggage. At least I can peer out the window and watch California melt into the distance. I yowled my displeasure from Orange County to Tucson. Serves . . . them . . . right.” – The Guardian, a short story
If she didn’t have sex this year, her girly bits were going to stage a revolt. – Unnamed Book 2, “Rx for Love” series
Monique stared at Thomas, aghast. “I’m famous?” – The Colony, a short story
“Where’s Papa going with that ax? said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.” – Charlotte’s Web
“You better not never tell nobody but God.” – The Color Purple
“As Sylvie Morgan stepped from the streamlined Greyhound, a blast of warm dust hit her face like a hairdryer. Awesome, she thought. This is Illinois, not Africa.” – The Regeneration of Tomas Renell, a horror short story
Now it’s your turn. Share your opening lines (or a favorite from another author) below!
We hope this helps kick off a great month of writing!
Ellen, Jenny & Kris
Top Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash