Opening Sentences in Fiction

In this blog, I try to share  posts and articles I found interesting. They relate to the writing process, the lives of writers and the business of books. They say that the opening sentence is one of the most important parts of a book. Legend has it that famous authors have spent months sharpening that one sentence to perfection. The Guardian has this wonderful collection titled, ” The 10 best first lines in fiction.” You might or might not agree that these are the 10 best, but they do make  good reading. Mark the variety of these opening lines which underlies the point that there is no one way to score an ace.

In this context, the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest ‘s website made interesting reading. This contest has been sponsored since 1982 by the English Department of the San Jose State University.  This was the first time I visited their site. The concept appeared  so unique that I spent more time than I imagined . In this contest you are required to contribute the opening lines to the worst of all possible novels! The prize winners showed just why they were the prize-winning entries! 

Mike Shultz has put together this collection of brilliant opening lines which you must see.

And here is the  great Stephen King himself who took months and years to write a memorable opening line.

Learning, for me,  is complete when you reflect on what you have done yourself after seeing what others have done, so I have added on the opening lines of  two of my novels:

  1. It Can’t Be You:  “The man was dead.”
  2. Lucky For Some, 13 : ” India stood still that Saturday.”

Which opening lines made an impact on you? What have been some of your favorite opening lines?




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