The Power of a Good First Line

This blog post was inspired by a #bookstagram challenge from last month hosted by @createexploreread, and a blog post series written in the last two weeks by Karen Ball (you can find them here and here).

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I have a thing for first lines. They hold so much power. Just a few words can make you put a book down or choose to read more. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve bought based on the first line alone.

Often known as the hook, the first line is the most crucial part of a story. I’ve even heard it said that you should spend as much time writing the first line as you did writing the whole book. It’s the first glimpse into the story. The first impression. The first clue to letting you know the voice & mood, and giving a hint into what the story will be about.

All in a few words. 

It has THAT much power.

Also, playing around with the first line/paragraph can be fun! Choose a few you like, then read them to friends and family members to see which they like the most. It can be interesting to see who picks what, and it’s helpful to know the opinions of “outsiders”, those who’s hearts aren’t in the story. Because that’s who your first line is geared at: people who might not have even heard your name or know what your book is about.

So, to wrap up the post, I’m going to add a few of my favorite first lines. If you want, you can join in the fun by adding your own favorite first lines. 🙂

“I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen.” Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

“Mr. And Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” Harry Potter And the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

“I am dead, but it’s not so bad.” Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

“There was once a time when only God knew the day you’d die.” A Time to Die by Nadine Brandes

“I am an hourglass. My seventeen years have collapsed and buried me from the inside out.” Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

4 thoughts on “The Power of a Good First Line

  1. “The Wheel of Time turns, and ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the age that gave it birth comes again. In one age, called the Third Age by some, an age yet to come, an age long past, a wind rose in the Mountains of Mist. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings not endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.”
    -The Eye of the World, by Robert Jordan

    My favorite first paragraph! ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I really liked the opening line to A time to Die as well! Such a great line that captures the entire premise of the story.
    I think my lines are too predictable. I write romance, so it’s hard to NOT be predictable lol.
    I really like my first paragraph, but the first line, eh.
    I thoroughly loved the last line of Catching Fire. Literally, because of that line, I went out and bought Mockingjay within the same week.

    Liked by 2 people

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