Thursday, April 26, 2007

Whose Line is it Anyway?

I love and strive for a good opening line. No, not the kind that follows a drink being placed in front of you by the bartender with a nod to the guy at the end of the bar (do people still do that?). I'm talking about opening lines in books that just grab you in their teeth and shake you. Lines like:

The week before I left my family and Florida and the rest of my minor life to go to boarding school in Alabama, my mother insisted on throwing me a going-away party.


I did something to that cat, I admit it.


I first became famous when I was eight years old and my dad took me skiing at Lake Rochester with his old-lady boss.


My name is India Opal Buloni and last summer my daddy, the preacher, sent me to the store for a box of macaroni and cheese, some white rice and two tomatoes and I came back with a dog.

and of course, who could forget:

Where's Papa going with that axe?

My crit partner Natalie-from-Italy has a great opening line in her new YA, but as I'm just supposed to critique it, I'm not going to share it here - suffice it to say it produced a verbal "HA!". I yearn to create fabulous opening lines. I think I'm getting there.

On this date: In 1986, the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl.

Okay, I could lie and say that one of these lines was mine, but none of them are. They are, in order:
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Francie by Karen English
The One Where The Kid Nearly Jumps To His Death and Lands In California by Mary Hershey
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
Charlottes Web by E.B. White

I'm sure you have a million favorites of your own.

1 comment:

Natalie said...

Thanks, Cyn! Now if only I could finish all the other lines that need writing in that manuscript...

I loved your favorite first lines list--the one from Charlotte's Web is one of my all-time favorites, too.