More great first lines

I’ve been paying attention to the first lines of books lately, because they’re so interesting. Almost no amateur-written books have good hooks, mostly because newbie writers don’t know the craft yet.

Anyway, here’s a hook that surprised me with its hookiness.

“Of course, the king never wore his stilts during business hours.” – The King’s Stilts, by Dr. Seuss.

The man knew how to write.

Here’s the hooks from the latest couple of books I snagged from the library.

“Flaxfield died on a Friday, which was a shame, because he always ate a trout for dinner on Friday, and it was his favorite.” – Dragonborn, by Toby Forward

“Walking to school over the snow-muffled cobbles, Karou had no sinister premonitions about the day.” – Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor

“The Sphinx stares at me from her plinth. I edge closer, daring her to open her mouth and enspell me with her riddles. She crouches, eyes a-glitter, teeth gleaming through parted lips. But she never moves.” – The Unnaturalists, by Tiffany Trent

“This is Joe Casimir’s story. But if you’re going to understand what happened when he got on a bus and and came down southwest across the state to visit a town called Midville, you have to know about Mr. Boulderwall.” – The Moon over High Street, by Natalie Babbit

“The director of facilities was a small man with ruddy cheeks and dark, deep-set eyes, his prominent forehead framed by an explosion of cottony-white hair, thinning as it marched toward the back of his head, cowlicks rising from the mass like waves moving toward the slightly pink island of his bald spot. His handshake was quick and strong, though not too quick and not too strong: He was accustomed to gripping arthritic fingers.” – The Monstrumologist, by Rick Yancey

“I remember lying in the snow, a small red spot of warm going cold, surrounded by wolves.” – Shiver, by Maggie Steifvater

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4 thoughts on “More great first lines

  1. I have to say that first lines generally don’t jump out at me. I’ve read three of the books on this list–Daughter of Smoke and Bone, The Monstrumologist, and Shiver–loved all three, but Shiver is the only one I’d say that had a great first line, one that I actually remembered.

    One thing I’ve noticed is that so many authors get caught up in the “opening hook” and forget the rest of the book. I hate reading a killer prologue or first chapter and then finding the rest of the book meh.

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    1. Yeah, the last few stinkers I read were like that–great first couple of chapters, then it really fell off.

      I’m loving Daughter of Smoke and Bone, though. I’m glad that her angel lore is different enough from mine that I shouldn’t be accused of stealing. 🙂

      Like

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