Thursday, April 03, 2008

Favorite First Lines

I was inspired by Rachelle Gardner over at her Rants and Ramblings blog to think about the first lines of novels. How important are first lines? Which ones have grabbed me as a reader?

It's an interesting subject. I believe first lines are very important. They're like fishhooks. If they aren't sharp and baited you might not catch a fish. So here's a sampling of some of my favorites from books sitting on my shelves:

"She ran, tree limbs and brambles scratching, grabbing, tripping, and slapping her as if they were bony hands, reaching for her out of the darkness."
--The Oath by Frank Peretti

"Valkerie woke up screaming."
--Oxygen by Randy Ingermanson & John B. Olson

"The pickup had been tailing me for at least the last thirty miles."
--On the Run by Lorena McCourtney

"Josee found the canister while seeking firewood in the thicket."
--Dark to Mortal Eyes by Eric Wilson

"Someone said to me that day, 'It's hotter than the eyes of hell out here.'"
--When the Day of Evil Comes by Melanie Wells

"The dead man's mother lives on Castlewood Street, in a battered gray house guarded by a mean echo of 'No Trespassing' signs."
--The Stones Cry Out by Sibella Giorello

And here's a recent favorite from a book that won't be published until October:

"Even in high school I didn't mind sleeping on the ground."
--Forsaken by James David Jordan

Your turn! Post your favorite lines, and maybe why you like them, in the comments. I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Linda Harris said...

My favorite first line is from a non-fiction book: "My grandmother had just gotten out of jail." It's by John Ortberg, from When the Game Is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box. He's talking about Monopoly, of course, but it just struck me when I read that first line.

Rel said...

I'll play!! Here's a few I like:

"Katie James ran a cold fingertip across the dusty skull." Fossil Hunter by John B. Olsen

"The nameless cadaver on the cover of my anatomy textbook-amiddle aged man who is no longer black, white or brown-would be counterd among the orange in the census of the embalmed." She Always Wore Red by Angela Hunt

"Summers were mostly reliable."
Abiding Darkness by John Aubrey Anderson

"It only takes a day and a half for the dreams to find me again." My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay

"My mom was freaking out." The Restorer's Journey by Sharon Hinck

I love first lines. They are often so brief but the good ones contain a lot about the story in very few words.

Lorena McC. said...

Thanks for including the first line from my On The Run among your favorites.
A first line that intrigued me is from Kathy Herman's Never Look Back: "Johnson McRae tucked his gun in the waistband of his trousers and stepped over the three corpses that lay sprawled on the warehouse floor, trying to decide what he wanted to have for dinner.
Lorena McCourtney

Susan said...

How about Brandilyn Collins:
Any man going on this mission wasn't coming back. Amber Morn

Anonymous said...

One of the best lines has to be from Ruby Among Us, Tina Ann Forkner's debut novel.

"The first person to hold Ruby was the last person to let her go"

C. said...

"Do you want to buy a jewelry box?"

I just read this frist line from "When Zeffie Got a Clue" by Peggy Darty. It grabbed me!

Tina said...

Wow! I just stumbled upon this great post. First lines are so important, but I never thought someone would post a comment about MY first line. (Thanks whoever you are).

I like the Peretti one:

"She ran, tree limbs and brambles scratching, grabbing, tripping, and slapping her as if they were bony hands, reaching for her out of the darkness."
--The Oath by Frank Peretti