On another group blog I belong to the question of how you’ve started your novel came up. Below is my answer. I'd love to see the opening lines from other Wyrdsmiths, be they from novels or short stories.
Archangel Protocol starts with a visual/tactile image:
“My hairline itched where the dead receiver lay just under the skin.”
Fallen Host begins with a statement of fact:
“I never sleep. Like the dolphin and the spiny anteater, I don’t experience REM.”
Messiah Node starts with one of my favorite all time first lines of my own:
“Sometimes I wondered what God was thinking.”
Apocalypse Array starts:
“When the preacher asked if there were any objections, I have expected God Himself to strike me down.”
Tall, Dark & Dead actually starts with a two sentence question and answer:
“What’s the best way to keep Vatican witch hunters off your scent? Dress to kill.”
Dead Sexy also begins with a question (special thanks to Bill Henry who suggested it):
“Who knew there were so many dead things in Madison, Wisconsin?”
The book I’m working on right now (tentatively called Bloody Charming) begins with:
“I was on my bicycle five miles out of town and thinking about what it might be like to settle down, really settle down with a vampire, like forever, when I saw the gray wolf on the side of the road.”
...which is clearly not as snappy as the other two, and may explain a bit why I’m still struggling with this sucker. I’ve started Bloody Charming three times now and can’t quite get things into focus. I’ve decided, in fact, to abandon perfection for the moment in order to keep moving forward.
I agonize over first lines. I’m convinced that they’re critical in hooking (hoodwinking?) your reader into buying your book. I know that when I’m thinking about book buying I often judge a book first by its cover, its back copy, and then by the first page or so of the author’s writing. Given that usually only one of those is in the author’s complete control, I figure I need to make my first page a real grabber.
How do you buy a book? How important is that first page (if you even read it)? And what about first lines, Wyrdsmiths? Any you're especially proud of?