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Opening lines

As a new author, like many others, I am constantly advised and urged to make the opening sentence as powerful as possible in a novel…and yet, I hesitate. I worry if the opening line is too strong, how on earth will I keep that tone up for the rest of the book. In many ways I almost prefer the opposite.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. Jane Austen ( Pride and Predjudice) 

call me Ishmael  Herman Melville ( Moby Dick) 

Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. ( Ulysses) James Joyce 

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

So, here are a couple of opening lines I really like.

  • I’m not like other people.
  • Mary Jane Szamnksi died first, then Ada Boscombe followed the same night by Ronald Darringer, yet that wasn’t regarded as unusual.
  • The coffee was cold, but I drank it anyway.

I would love to know what other readers and writers think??



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