What makes a great opening line to a book?
I’ve been pondering this question a lot lately as I work on my newest manuscript. I figure the best way to answer this question is to go to my keeper shelf, draw out a few books at random and read the opening lines. Here are a few of the ones I grabbed.
It wasn’t every day a guy saw a headless beaver marching down the side of a road, not even in Dean Robillard’s larger-than-life world. –Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Daisy Devreaux had forgotten her bridegroom’s name. –Kiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Elizabeth Fitch’s short-lived teenage rebellion began with L’Oreal Pure Black, a pair of scissors and a fake ID. –The Witness by Nora Roberts
As Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent, stared at the young woman who had just barged her way into his London residence, it occurred to him that he might have tried to abduct the wrong heiress last week at Stony Cross Park. –The Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas
The body in the road was the absolute cap to the day. –Thief of Shadows by Elizabeth Hoyt
Saying that she went to the annual Firefighter’s Charity Breakfast for pancakes was like saying she watched baseball for the game—when everyone knew that you watched baseball for the guys in tight uniform pants. –Always on My Mind by Jill Shalvis
So, really? Are you surprised the above books are on my keeper shelf? Of course, as any dedicated writer would do after reviewing how some of her favorite authors started some of her favorite books, I decided to grab a few of my own books (again at random) to see if I’m starting my own stories with great first lines. I’ll let you decided if I got it right or not.
From Courting the Enemy, September 2011 release: The betrayal came at too high a cost.
From The Marshal Takes a Bride, February 2009 release: Cornered and nearly out of ideas, U.S. marshal Trey Scott refused to consider retreat.
From The Outlaw’s Redemption, July 2013 release: Hunter Mitchell was a free man.
From Dangerous Allies, September 2010 release: They came to watch her die.
Now it’s your turn. Do you have any favorite opening lines? Leave a comment and I’ll enter your name in the drawing for a copy of a book from my backlist (your choice).