A shortish blog today because I do really enjoy hearing what you all have to say on certain subjects and thought that today’s topic of discussion might be one you could all throw yourselves into. It’s the subject of those tricky things… the opening lines of a book.
Yesterday I let you know my thoughts on ‘The Victorian Chaise-Longue’ by Marghanita Laski which the lovely Novel Insights kindly lent to me after borrowing it from her library and thinking it might be very me. In all the excitement I took a brief peek at the opening lines and I instantly said to Polly ‘oh yes this is very me’. Isn’t it amazing how one single line can sell you a book in the space of mere seconds as you can see below…
‘Will you give me your word of honour,’ said Melanie, ‘that I am not going to die?’
That one simple line had me intrigued from the start and so I decided to look at why that might be. Instantly you want to know who Melanie is, why she fears she might die and just who is giving their word and the motives behind it all. I realised that I don’t really notice the first line of a book and have decided that I shall in future. Don’t worry I am not about to start doing a brief additional post each time I start a new book with simply the opening line (though that is an idea) I will be keeping a note of them in my book notes notebook though. After all great opening lines don’t always guarantee a great book (though the above one did) and not all great books start with a corker of an opening line. The book I am reading now is superb however the line ‘I climbed aboard the Little No.5 as I did every morning on my way to work’ isn’t exactly scintillating is it? The book is brilliant though.
So how about this for an idea… why don’t you all join in and also make notes of the opening lines that greet you in the books you start over the next month too and we meet on the 2nd of April and see what results we find? What great lines have been the openers of great reads or dud ones, vice versa and everything in between? Sound a plan? I also wondered if any authors who might read this blog could comment on how important/difficult those first lines are, if they are of course?
In the meantime what is your favourite opening line of any book ever? I wonder if you can guess what mine might be?