I write to keep me sane. I write so that my words may outlive my life. I write to find redemption

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

First Lines

A short post to add onto my thoughts about the first chapter in a novel. The first line of a novel is the first chance you have to draw a reader in. This web site has a list titled 100 Best First Lines from Novels.

My favorite from that list is

71. Granted: I am an inmate of a mental hospital; my keeper is watching me, he never lets me out of his sight; there's a peephole in the door, and my keeper's eye is the shade of brown that can never see through a blue-eyed type like me. —GŸnter Grass, The Tin Drum (1959; trans. Ralph Manheim)

I also love the first lines from Anna Karenina and The Catcher and the Rye.

One I do not like off that list is

7. riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs. —James Joyce, Finnegans Wake (1939)

Any first lines that you love or hate from that list or from any novel you have read?


  • At 6/13/2006 08:14:00 PM, Blogger Suzan Abrams, email: said…

    This is great work, Sara. I think my favourites were the short, crisp lines. Amazing isn't that such selections are telling even of the reader's personality.
    For me, like 'Call me, Ishmael...' or Lolita, etc or 'I am an invisible man...' I adore lines like that.

  • At 6/14/2006 12:30:00 PM, Blogger RomanceWriter said…

    It is amazing how much those authors are able to convey it so few words. Very impressive.

  • At 6/14/2006 10:27:00 PM, Blogger Suzan Abrams, email: said…

    You're so right, Sara. I guess it has to have the right catch of emotion as well, from the word 'go' like the flavour of being entirely romantic,sensual,mysterious etc.
    What's amazing is what I've learnt about myself thanks to you, darling.
    I never even knew I was drawn to short captivating lines as opposed to longer ones, until you posted this piece!

  • At 6/23/2006 12:08:00 AM, Blogger RomanceWriter said…

    It is awesome how connetions made over the net can be so helpful.
    Thanks for inspiring me, Susan. All your recent successes give me hope!

  • At 8/27/2006 10:35:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Have to agree with you about line 7, Sara.

    Given the age of the piece I suppose that's more like how people spoke back then!

    A captivating first few lines is like an excellent amuse bouche - it whets your appetite for more.

  • At 8/28/2006 01:54:00 PM, Blogger RomanceWriter said…

    Thanks for the comment, Amin. I do agree that the first line can make you want to dive into a story and see what else is to come.

    Stop by again in you have time,


Post a Comment

<< Home