Friday, August 15, 2014

The Power of the First Line

A good first line should set the tone for the entire book. That's what makes a good first line so magical; it accomplishes something very tricky. When writing in elementary and middle school, my least favorite part about a writing assignment was writing the first sentence, which was always called 'the hook' by teachers. It was always so hard to write a line that was relevant and interesting but not cheesy or cliche (and yes I thought about these things in elementary school.) I thought I would highlight a few excellent first lines, and I hope that you will share your own favorite first lines or discover a new read when you get hooked by one of these first lines.

"It was a pleasure to burn."-Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen."- 1984, George Orwell

"It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenburgs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York."- The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath

"All of this happened, more or less."- Slaughter House Five, Kurt Vonnegut

"I read somewhere that humans beings are genetically predisposed to record history." - Grasshopper Jungle, Andrew Smith

"The best day of my life happened when I was five and almost died at Disney World." - Going Bovine, Libba Bray

"The Sun does not go down." - Midwinterblood, Marcus Sedgwick

"I am a coward." - Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein

What's your favorite first line?


  1. Such a good point and so many great lines. I'm going with One Hundred Years of Solitude:
    "Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."

    1. That is a beautiful line! That book was already on my tbr, but I might have to move it up.
      thanks for stopping by!