I am re-blogging this post from my early days on this blog to ask you – what book’s first line stayed with you the most? For the writers among my readers, what first line are you most proud of? Or better yet, do you put a lot of weight on the importance of a first line?

Day 98

One of my writing lessons today was all about getting the reader interested in the story you have to tell. It made me think about what makes me want to continue reading. Of course, the first line is key.

I found this great infographic from which they will generously share as long as they are properly credited. Fair enough! Please click on the link below the image and check out their website. They have some helpful articles for writers — and they provide editing and proofreading services to boot.

Compelling First Lines of Famous BooksInfographic created and owned by

What a powerful list of novels first lines! My most memorable has always been A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

As I ponder the beginning of my book (I am learning the beginning of the book is often not discovered until well into the writing) I ask — what is…

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15 thoughts on “Introductions”

  1. “Marley was dead: to begin with.”

    From “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens

    I also like the preface:

    “I HAVE endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.

    Their faithful Friend and Servant,

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  2. That’s a great list of books! I think “Catcher in the Rye” has to rank at the top. A good writer can hook you in the first chapter. A great writer can do the same in the first paragraph or line. It’s like coming to a stop sign and thinking, “Is the view ahead compelling enough to make me continue on, or should I just go home?”

    I’ll submit on of my opening lines: The handwritten note on the dashboard read: Not Abandoned.

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  3. Charlotte’s Web’s, Alice in Wonderland, Genesis 1:1, and “Once upon a time, sixty years ago, a little girl lived in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs.” (Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods–I wanted to be her growing up ;-). This is a great share! Thank you so much!

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  4. I liked this one a lot.
    Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
    “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”
    And ‘Great Expectations’, of course.
    “My father’s family name being Pirrip, and my christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip. So, I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip.”
    Best wishes, Pete.

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  5. Well, here’s an original…
    “The largest of the Prisoner’s Mines sat in the Great Desert, a full night’s ride in from its edge.”
    From the first story I ever wrote, have revised several times, and will doubtless revise a few more times before I am satisfied. 😉

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