Over on the Guide to Literary Agents blog, Merry Jones's looks at How to Write a Great Opening Line. In her analysis, she shares what she considers eight of the best opening lines in fiction. My favorite from her list is “It was a slow Sunday afternoon, the kind Walden loved," from Ken Follet's The Man from St. Petersburg. It immediately sets the scene and gives you a glimpse of the main character's personality.
My favorite opening line of all-time, though, comes from a book that really helped shape my adolescent years (for the better). It hooked me in and I wasn't able to put it down until I had finished it, which is the No. 1 key to any great opening line. Here the line that pulled me in:
—J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye
If all opening lines were as captivating as Salinger's, I'm not sure I'd ever get anything accomplished around my house—much to the chagrin of my wife.
Now that you've seen mine (and possibly Merry Jones's), what I want to know is: What's your favorite opening line to a book? Post it below in the comments section for a chance to win a free copy of Novel Writing, a 128-page magazine packed with advice on how to hook readers from chapter one, create unforgettable characters, get published and more. I'll pick one commenter at random from my trusty hat. Plus, get an additional chance to win a free issue just by tweeting this:
What's Your Favorite Opening Line to a Book? (& Win a Free Copy of @WritersDigest's Novel Writing) - http://bit.ly/QhuJSS (via @BrianKlems)
Deadline to enter for a chance to win: September 24.