Friday, August 22, 2008

First Lines

I've been reading a lot of blogs lately about first lines of novels. They tend to fall into three categories - good, bad, and memorable. The discussions got me thinking about first lines I remember. One jumped out immediately - but I couldn't remember the book title.

The line - "They shoot the white girl first." Do know the novel? (answer below)

While researching, I ran across some interesting sites and thought I'd share.

And now the answer - Toni Morrison's Paradise begins, "They shoot the white girl first."

Is there a first line that has stuck with you? Use the comments to tell us about it.


L.J. Sellers said...

"There were 117 psychoanalysts on the Pan Am flight to Vienna and I had been treated by at least six of them."
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying

I was impressed by Jong's courage. She inspired me to be bold in my writing.

Helen said...

I have several that I list in an article on my Resources for Writers Page, but one that like for its simplicity is from Sharon Kahn, author of Fax Me a Bagel:
"You haven’t lived until you’ve died in Eternal, Texas."

Anonymous said...

There's so many, here's two:

Call me Ishmael.

Moby Dick, by Herman Melville

A screaming comes across the sky.

Gravity’s Rainbow, by Thomas Pynchon

Debi Watson said...

Memorable for me, is Janet Evanovich's first line "The way I see it, life is like a jelly doughnut." I happened to be ill at the time, feeling sorry for myself, starting giggling at the first line and my whole day turned around. Debi Watson

BillieJohn said...

Among novels I have published, I confess to my favorite being "There was a dead man in my freezer." This is from Callie and the Dealer and a Dog Named Jake which is from 2001, I think, by Wendy Howell Mills. This line was recently accepted for inclusion in Chris Reorden's forthcoming book on novel beginnings.

Another one I like, which I think is Elizabeth Peters novel..."The last camel died at noon."

Charlotte Phillips, Co-Author of Hacksaw said...

All great choices. I love the Stephanie Plum books (Evanovich). I rarely laugh outloud while reading, but those books do it to me everytime.

I must confess, I have not read Callie and the Dealer and a Dog Named Jake, but between the title and the first line, I just had to put it on my list of books to read.