First and foremost, get their attention.
A novel is made up of many thousands of sentences, but none as deeply important as the opening line. (Except, probably, the closing line—but that’s another post.) The first line should tell the reader what to expect in terms of language, plot and character. It should be mysterious and compelling, either poetic or shockingly abrupt. If a bookstore browser flips to the first page and reads the opening line, he or she should want to immediately sit down in the middle of the aisle and keep reading.
So few books get that critical first line truly, completely right. Here are ten that do:
1. Cat’s Eye, Margaret Atwood, 1998
“Time is not a line but a dimension, like the dimensions of space.”
Atwood’s novel about maintaining one’s identity tells the story of painter Elaine Risley, who reflects back on her youth and her…
View original post 1,150 more words