Monday, December 1, 2008

First Lines: The Hook

The first line of any novel is the most important line in the book! It sets the mood, establishes a character, narrator, or setting, and should compel the reading to keep reading. It sums up the book in one line, and also sets up expectations of what is to come. It is like the first notes of a symphony.

One of my favorite first lines in literature is:

Pride and Prejudice, "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."

I thought I'd also share the first lines in my books:

from Dreams of Beauty:
Although Emme had never met him, his face appeared every night in her dreams.

and I'm currently tweaking my first line for Messenger in the Mist:
It wasn’t the thought of the countless spindly legs that frightened Star, it was the idea of being carried away into the mist to a place that no one had ever returned.

What are your favorite first lines in literature?


Anonymous said...

My favorite first line is from Stephen King's The Gunslinger...."The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed him."

Anonymous said...

I can't think of a favorite line right now but I also enjoy when a book puts famous (or not so famous) quotes at the beginning of a section or even the beginning of the whole book. It really sets the tone and gets me thinking even before I start. Have you ever thought about that with your books?

Aubrie said...

That is a great first line from Stephen King...As to quotes, I've never tried beginning with one. It's something to think about for the future. The Voices of Ire begins with a poem, and I think that sets the mood rather nicely.

I've also thought about beginning straight out with dialogue, but it would have to be very good!

Anonymous said...

You're right. I can't think of too many books that start with dialogue but it would certainly be different. I think a poem is just as good as a quote and if you write it yourself you don't have to worry about copyright etc.