My first line for THE LAST SHAMAN:
"When she was thunder in the distance, I awoke."
My first line for RETURN OF THE LAST SHAMAN:
"The night had strung death like beads along the thread of its hours."
says the best writers hook their readers with voice, not just action.
"There are all sorts of theories and ideas about what constitutes a good opening line.
It's a tricky thing, and tough to talk about because I don't think conceptually while I work on a first draft --
I just write.
To get scientific about it is a little like trying to catch moonbeams in a jar.
But there's one thing I'm sure about. An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story. It should say: 'Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this.'
The opening line of It is
'The terror that would not end for another 28 years, if it ever did, began so far as I can know or tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain.'
When I'm starting a book, I compose in bed before I go to sleep.
I will lie there in the dark and think. I'll try to write a paragraph. An opening paragraph.
And over a period of weeks and months and even years,
I'll word and reword it until I'm happy with what I've got. If I can get that first paragraph right, I'll know I can do the book"
What do I think about first lines?
A good first line should be as good as your favorite film quote.
Something that even when taken out of context has power – the power to make someone laugh or think or gasp or grimace.
The best opening lines, when read in the bookstore, can make or break the sale of a book arguably even more than its blurb.
I may not judge a book by its cover, but I often judge it on the first sentence.