The first line of your story— whether it’s a novel, short story, or work of nonfiction—must hook the reader. It’s probably the most important line in the entire book. It is the first impression, the easiest line in the book to find, the easiest line in the book to say “no” to. A good first line is in itself interesting, and makes the reader wonder, and to fulfill their curiosity, they’ll read the next sentence or two, and on and on until you’ve convinced them to trust your storytelling and that they should read the whole book. At least that is the dream.
That’s a lot of pressure to put on a single line of a book. It’s the kind of pressure that feeds the blank page, building it into the scary beast we all fear as writers. If you already have a story started, hopefully you’ll revisit your first sentence before you submit it. The good thing is that your first line does not have to be perfect until the book is done.
For most of us, the fear of failure is hard to overcome. And if you want to write a story, but you don’t even have an idea for a story, that can intensify that paralyzing fear. I urge you not to let it keep you from writing the first line of a new story.
I’m here to help you start a new story! Below are 20 first lines to new stories that haven’t been written yet. Feel free to use any of them to write, to change them however it suits you (different names, POV, etc.), and by no means do you have to keep this line as your first line by the time you’re done with your story. Don’t let anything limit you.
If you need a jumping off point, here’s 20:
If none of these really work for you, that’s fine! The key is to come up with a tiny mystery or to mash together things that you wouldn’t expect together or to toss in a person doing something that isn’t normal. There’s no wrong way to do it. Use these however you need in order to get the juices flowing!
Already have a story written, but don’t know how to talk about it? Boil your story down to one sentence you can memorize and have at-the-ready, by using this worksheet to make the perfect elevator pitch/logline.
Fangs for reading! Snatch ya later. UvvU