Friday, August 07, 2009

Dry Eyes

I dried my eye out yesterday. The one I had Lasik done on. The reason? I couldn't put a book down for two days.

Here's the opening lines from The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold:

My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.



It isn't a Christian book but not all the ones I read are but when I read that first line, I was hooked. I loved her name, I loved that something already had happened to her and I wanted to know why, and I loved the era because I graduated that year.

Rarely do the first few lines of a book pull me in so much. And rarely do I read a book straight through.

It makes me think about the hooks I've used on my short stories and books. Are they strong enough? Do they grab the reader and promise a great ride?

Some have. Some haven't. Makes me think I need to really look at them closer.

How about yours? What's one of your strongest opening lines?

22 comments:

Jessica said...

An editor said she liked this one: If there was one thing Rachel McCormick hated more than breaking into the mayor’s house, it was getting caught.

But there are tons more hookier ones out there. I still want to read Sebold's book. I've SO much about it!

Sassy Granny ... said...

The book truly opens with a promise, and it sounds like it delivers on it as well!

Funny ... I was just thinking last night that I need get rid of the books I've kept for eons. There's so-o-o-o many of them - - hundreds if not thousands - - and from various genres Christian & secular. They're like friends, so I feel like I'm about to issue eviction notices. Alas, I must.

Be blessed, friend. Glad you continue to encourage and inspire along literary lines!

Kathleen

Heather Sunseri said...

I haven't read that book, but it's sitting on my nightstand. I plan to. Thanks for reminding me.

sarah said...

I read that book last year.It kept me reading but really freaked me out. I write mostly non-fiction. Would the hook then be different? My opening: “Tell me,” Toni said.
I fidgeted in my seat feeling like I wanted to run again. Toni’s voice quiet and reassuring repeated the request.
I hope your eye feels better.

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Hmmm. Well, my only opening line is pretty lame by generally accepted standards, still, in the spirit of honesty, here it is:

“Despite its twenty years, his sole remaining photograph had aged gracefully.”

Yeah, not all that compelling. The novel is a “Message in a Bottle” type love story, so, no dead bodies to toss about, no robberies to trumpet, no monsters to conquer, no space aliens to dispatch. The antagonists are the illusive time and culture. Anyway, there it is.

Best Regards, Galen
Imagineering Fiction Blog

Jennifer Shirk said...

Oooh, I LOVE Jessica's opening!

But yes, Alice Sebold's line is very grabbing. Wow.

Lin said...

opening line, well I write non-fiction. Will have to look. Here's one on Bullies. "Raised as an only child, I never knew that kids were unkind to each other." Here's another on Ghost Towns-Tucked away in shady canyons throughout the west are deserted mining towns.Will think more about hooks. Thanks.

Julie Gillies said...

Hi Terri,

I received that book as a gift and have never read it (I've got a pile I'm working through), but now you've got me excited about it!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend, Terri.

Yolanda said...

Golly gee, that sounds like an interesting book!

Andrea said...

I read that book several years ago. I, too was drawn to it.
Blessings, andrea

Trudy said...

I read that book years ago and was enthralled as well, I think it may have been two sittings for me.

Cindy said...

I've heard wonderful things about that book!

I know I definitely need to work on opening lines that hook the reader.

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

i'm laughing a bit...you're asking for the best first line and CKHB on her blog i asking for the worst you can come up with. :) glad you enjoyed your book! and curious about how the lasik turned out...i'm thinking about that in the future.

Stephanie Faris said...

Now THAT is a strong opening line. I always struggle with opening lines because I know how important they are. How's this one, from a book I'm planning on writing once I finish my revisions:

"I was shooting butterflies when I first met Evan." (She was shooting them with a camera, not a gun!)

The opening line to my last romance, Rode Hard and Put Up Wet, was just two words: Cow poop.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

I find the openings that start in the middle of fresh dialogue actually grab me best. But not always.

Jody Hedlund said...

Don't you just love it when you find a book you can't put down? I love it! I've come across so many great first lines lately, and I think that's partly because of the push to make them grab a reader.

Lazy Writer said...

That is a great book! It's one of those I read in one sitting.

T. Anne said...

When I read that book I couldn't put it down! I didn't like her second book though, she lost that punch and her creative juices were not there either. (Sorry to sound neg lol) But I think there is a lot to learn from her first book!

Melissa Marsh said...

Hmmm. Not sure what my best opening line is. Will have to look.

I think a lot of times, writers want a really, really good hook to start out their book, and then the rest of the story doesn't quite live up to that hook. Does that make sense?

Other writers, however, do NOT have a hook but just start out with description or something like that, and it works just fine, too.

Guess it all comes down to voice. :-)

Beth in NC said...

Wow, that is a great hook Terri! It would have had me too.

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

It's been a reading filled summer for ma as well. I just finished the "Twilight Series" not so much because I wanted to read them but because the DD's friends have all read them and I was conflicted about letting my 14 yr old read them until I had been through them myself. She will get to read them but not just yet. I was skeptical at first, and there were some things I did not like about the series but over all I thought they were good story telling, especially when you consider this was Stephanie Meyers first set of books.

I have to admit they were really hard to put down.

I will add this one to my want to read list, I have heard of it before, it was an "Oprah" book (I think??) which automatically was a huge turn off for me, but since you, a reliable source have recommended it I will give it a read!

I hope to start "The Three Musketeers" today. It is amazing how many of the classics I have never read!!!

Blessings
Robin

Helen Ginger said...

I liked The Lovely Bones. Books that are different, like The Lovely Bones, The Time Traveler's Wife, or Geek Love, grab me and keep my attention.

Here are the opening lines to a mystery-in-edit:

Mama knew everything and could kiss away scrapes and bruises, but the summer of my twelfth year, I learned Mama could be wrong. Unlike Mama, I know the hardest thing to get out of clothes is not red clay. It’s blood.

Helen
Straight From Hel