Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Ten on Tuesday - That's Novel!

Today's Ten on Tuesday topic is an interesting one - 10 Sentences That You Think Would Make Great Opening Lines for a Novel. I did try to write a few opening sentences on my own, but here's an example: "She sat down to knit, and as her yarn unwound from the ball, so did her memories begin to unwind." My attempts were a bit cheesy and of the "It was a dark and stormy night" variety, so I went with the alternative prompt, Share Your 10 Favorite Opening Lines instead.
  • “I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974." -- Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex
  • “Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” -- Celeste Ng, Everything I Never Told You
  • “Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person.” -- Anne Tyler, Back When We Were Grownups
  • "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." -- George Orwell, 1984
  • "The king stood in a pool of blue light, unmoored." -- Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven
  • "In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing." -- Norman Maclean,  A River Runs Through It 
  • "I'm pretty much fucked." -- Andy Weir, The Martian
  • "There was a hand in the darkness and it held a knife." -- Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book
  • “Where’s Papa going with that ax?” said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast."  -- E.B. White, Charlotte's Web
  • "Elspeth died while Robert was standing in front of a vending machine watching tea shoot into a small plastic cup." -- Audrey Niffenegger, Her Fearful Symmetry
These are all from books that I've read and found the first lines intriguing. I remembered that thought-provoking line from Her Fearful Symmetry, but did have to look up what novel it came from. I can't recall anything about the book itself, but the first line certainly stuck with me. Perhaps the book is worth a re-read!

What are your original or favorite opening lines?


  1. Those are great opening lines! The only one I can ever remember by heart is this one: "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." (Leo Tolstoy in Anna Karenina)

  2. I've read and enjoyed many of the books on your list and think I may have to read the one or two I haven't. Great lines really capture us right off the bat. The only opening line I remember is "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again."

  3. Excellent choices! I've read all of those books except for Her Fearful Symmetry and The Graveyard Book.

  4. I've only read Charlotte's Web on that list! And no opening lines for me...:-) You've got me intrigued with several of those though, particularly the Anne Tyler one.

  5. I did the same as you - I'm not so creative. I just love Charlotte's Web!

  6. The Anne Tyler one gets to me every time I read it!! One of my favorites from a book is "Parsifal Is Dead..that is the end of the story"... From The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett.

    Linda in VA

  7. Those are great! My Goodreads list just got longer :-)

  8. I've read several of these. And we have common ones, too!

  9. it's funny - I don't think great first lines necessarily translate into great novels. I guess it takes a lot of great lines - and great ending - to make a great novel, but still... shouldn't it be a better predictor?! And like everyone else, the Ann Patchett intrigues me. another one TBR.

  10. My TBR list just grew a little longer! Thank you...I'm looking forward to them even more now that the first line is out of the way. Great post!

  11. I have read many of those. Great first lines!

  12. Oh, fantastic list! I wish I had thought of that. I sat this week out because I couldn't come up with ten opening lines.


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