One of the most important hooks that you can use to draw in a reader is your opening line. Today, while I was looking through my Facebook timeline, I stumbled upon an article that someone had posted to a NaNoWriMo group – the article can be found here. The title of the article is ’10 Beautiful Opening Lines of Books Will Remind You What Fantastic Writing Looks Like’. I, along with several others from the NaNoWriMo group, disagree with the opening lines in that article being ‘beautiful’ or ‘fantastic writing’.
Of course, it’s all subjective. However, when someone googled the name of the person who wrote the article, they discovered that they work for a publishing house, so the article is more likely to be free promotion for titles from their publisher. Here’s the 10th opening in the article that I’ve linked to:
The city had converted an elevated length of abandoned railway spur into an aerial greenway and the agent and I were walking south along it in the unseasonable warmth after an outrageously expensive celebratory meal in Chelsea that included baby octopuses
To me, this sentence is grammatically incorrect as well as being too long and dull. If I read that at the start of a book, I’d put it down and probably never pick it up again. But as I said, that’s just me.
So, on the subject of opening lines, here’s some of mine:
The Daisy (YA Fantasy/Adventure, 2010)
The waves lapped against the shore as the gulls cried overhead. Sailors departed ships carrying nets alive and wriggling with freshly caught fish. Nilan leaned on the worn stone wall and watched the bustling activity of the small dock from his quiet spot in the garden.
Ashlyn and the Lost Prince (YA Fantasy/Adventure, 2009)
Snap. Her head jerked up as a twig broke. A smile played on her lips. They were coming.
That’s Charming: Curse of the Beast (MG Fantasy/Adventure, 2011)
A hush fell over the crowd in the auditorium as the headmaster walked across the stage. His footsteps echoed on the wooden floor as he stepped up to the podium in the centre.
An Epic Tale (MG Fantasy/Adventure, 2013)
“Doomed! We’re all doomed!”
Abernath rolled his eyes at the man standing in the centre of the square, screaming at the people walking past – it seemed like every week there was some new oddity in the centre of town.
Hunted (YA Dystopian/Supernatural, 2012)
Something foul poisoned the air; a rusty metallic smell, mixed with something rotting. Each footstep squelched underfoot as they trekked across the bog. Swirls of mist rose through the air, clouding their vision as they crouched low. Bodies littered the ground, half submerged in the sludge.
Nightvale (MG Dark Fantasy, 2012)
Her heart raced as she stumbled over the roots reaching up to grab her in the growing darkness. She panted as she leapt over a fallen tree and weaved in and out of the pines still standing. Home; she thought only of home.
Flyhorn (YA Fantasy, 2012)
The feeling of the wind blowing through your hair, there’s nothing better. A bright summer’s afternoon, the clouds white and puffy as they float lazily across the sky, no destination in mind. Just like me. I once floated across the sky, something so immensely freeing I won’t soon forget it.
Anora (YA Dystopian, 2012)
“Mission number: 3642. Target: Albirim Sawyer. Location: Deshem. Deadline: 3 days.”
The recording crackled to a stop. DePrae glanced down at the small communicator, the little blue light she had been watching faded from the screen. There was no more to the message.
What do you think? Do my opening lines hook you as a reader? What are some of your opening lines? Feel free to share them in the comments below.
Hope everyone has a fantastically productive day today! (I know I’m going to try)