You Had Me At Hello

By Probably Valentin de Boulogne (1591 - 1632) (French) (Creator, (Google Art Project:  Home - pic) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Saint Paul Writing His Epistles. By Probably Valentin de Boulogne, public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
I’m definitely a first-chapter junkie. I live for stories that grab me from the start and never let go. Some of my favorite openers:

From THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.

From THE COLOR PURPLE

You better not never tell nobody but God.

From A CERTAIN SLANT OF LIGHT

Someone was looking at me, a disturbing sensation if you’re dead.

From CHARLOTTE’S WEB

‘Where’s Papa going with that axe?’ said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.

The start of a story is where expectations bloom and stakes rise. It’s where characters are revealed and motivations are discovered. As Chuck Wendig wrote, “A good opening line is stone in our shoe that we cannot shake.”

Now how do you do that? Honestly, I don’t know. I’m not an expert by any means. And with all things creative, it’s completely subjective. But I try to approach my writing as if I was the reader. If my opening line and/or first chapter makes me care about my protagonist and want to know more, then I feel like I’m on the right track.

Favorite opening lines? Tips on crafting a killer intro? Please share!

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8 thoughts on “You Had Me At Hello”

  1. For me, the best first line ever is from Percy Jackson and The Titan’s Curse.
    “The Friday before winter break, my mom packed me an overnight bag and a few deadly weapons and took me to a new boarding school.”
    That’s just pure awesome. 🙂

    Like

  2. Opening lines are SO hard to nail. I started Crewel by Gennifer Albin last night and it opens with: “They came in the night.” Pretty good since it immediately forces the reader to ask so many questions. Who came? Why at night? Sounds ominous…

    Like

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