KILLER FIRST LINES
“Truth is the beginning of every good thing...”
To produce a killer story, you need to start with a killer first line.
Not only to entice the reader to move forward, but also for the more important reason of moving yourself forward.
You are your own first reader. You have to be compelled enough to carry on. If you’re not interested, why on earth would anyone else be?
Here are three examples of killer first lines:
“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.”-The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
"Where's Papa going with that ax?" -
's Web by E.B. White. Charlotte
gets me a job as a waiter, after that Tyler ’s pushing a gun in my mouth and saying, the first step to eternal life is you have to die.” - Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk Tyler
Each of these lines has their own style, but they all capture your attention.
Your first line can be long or short, funny or sad, sarcastic or down to earth...But it must be original and it must contain a hook.
And...in my opinion, it must contain a truth.
Here are some first lines I’ve written:
-By the Sword
“Benjamin Tallmadge had never killed before.”
-The Girl Next Door
“The taxi’s spinning wheels spit pebbles and dirt as it left me behind at the marina’s gate.”
-Saved by the Music
As you can see, my approach varies. But each of these lines was the thing that propelled me into the rest of the story. And each of these lines reveals some insight: informational, emotional and/or psychological.
What’s your killer first line? Please share it with us at email@example.com. Deadline is Wednesday, April 3. We’ll post our choice for the most compelling line on Friday, April 6.
And hey, if you’re really daring, feel free to send us your opening paragraph!