The First Line

How important is the first line of your story? Will it keep readers on the page long enough to read the second? The third? Is it trite or cliche? Is it memorable?

There are only a few beginning lines that really stand out in my memory as making me want to keep reading. In fact, one of them got me to actually buy the book at a garage sale.

Death drove a green Lexus.

Isn’t that a fabulous opening line? I had to buy the book and find out why Death was driving a green Lexus. I mean, who wouldn’t? This one belongs to veteran author, Dean Koontz, in the book Winter Moon, I believe.

Another that I came across not too long ago is from The Harrowing, by Alexandra Sokoloff: It had been raining since possibly the beginning of time.

While not as stunning as Koontz’s line, it created an indelible impression in my mind of how one feels after endless days of rain. It made me want to read more.

You know right away that sarcastic humor will accompany you through Jim Butcher’s Small Favor with this line: Winter came early that year; it should have been a tip-off.

How do your first lines compare?