As an apprentice writer I’m very conscious of the importance of the first line in a story. I work and rework my opening lines to show that I’m practicing what I’ve been taught and, if I were honest, to show my brilliance. Here are some of my favorite opening lines chosen from my modest library:
Plum Lovin’ by Janet Evanovich © 2007 by Evanovich, Inc.
Men are like shoes. Some fit better than others. And sometimes you go out shopping and there’s nothing you like. And, as luck would have it, the next week you find two that are perfect, but you don’t have the money to buy both.
It’s Only a Plate, a column by Andrew A. Rooney © 1982, 1983, 1984 by Essay Productions, Inc.
Do I grieve for an icebox? I do.
The Living Bible © 1971 by Tyndale House Publishers
When God began creating the heavens and the earth, the earth was at first a shapeless chaotic mass, with the Spirit of God brooding over the dark vapors.
The Wedding, a column by Erma Bombeck © 1993 by Erma Bombeck
It would have been a wonderful wedding … had it not been mine.
Underwear, a column by Andrew A. Rooney © 1982, 1983, 1984 by Essay Productions, Inc.
You have to look for good in people wherever you can find it. A very nice thing about most people is that they wear their best underwear when they get dressed up to go to a party, even though it isn’t going to show. There’s something basically honest about that.
The Glitter Dome by Joseph Wambaugh © 1981 by Joseph Wambaugh
It was six inches long. He stroked it lightly, but he could not conjure an appropriate response: eroticism, revulsion, fascination, terror. He had read it described in a hundred melodramatic and pathetic suicide notes. Technology had even infiltrated death messages: So far this year four farewells were transmitted on taped cassettes, the ultimate proof of declining literacy.
Destination: Maybe, a column by Dave Barry © 1982 & 1983 by Feature Associates
I fly a lot, because of the nature of my job. I’m a gnat.
Directions, a column by Andrew A. Rooney © 1982, 1983, 1984 by Essay Productions, Inc.
Early next year I’m going to take a week off and read the directions for all the things I’ve bought that came with the warning READ DIRECTIONS CAREFULLY BEFORE OPERATING.
Lonesome Shorty, a story by Garrison Keillor © 1993 by Garrison Keillor
The summer before last, I was headed for Billings on my horse Old Dan, driving two hundred head of the ripest-smelling longhorns you ever rode downwind of, when suddenly here come some tumbleweeds tumbling along with a newspaper stuck inside…I had been without news for weeks so I leaned down and snatched it up and read it trotting along, though the front page was missing and all there was was columnists and the Lifestyle section, so bouncing along in a cloud of manure I read an article entitled “43 Fabulous Salads to Freshen Up Your Summertime Table” which made me wonder if my extreme lonesomeness might not be the result of diet.
The National Academy of History, a column by Andrew A. Rooney © 1982, 1983, 1984 by Essay Productions, Inc.
I’m not at all satisfied with history the way it’s being written.
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell © 1936 by Macmillan Publishing Co.
Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.
Self-Improvement Week, a column by Andrew A. Rooney © 1982, 1983, 1984 by Essay Productions, Inc.
I think I’ll improve myself this week.
Plum lucky by Janet Evanovich © 2007 by Evanovich, Inc.
My mother and grandmother raised me to be a good girl, and I have no problem with the girl part. I like men, malls, and carbs. Not necessarily in that order.
Reunion, a column by Andrew A. Rooney © 1982, 1983, 1984 by Essay Productions, Inc.
There’s just so much sentimental baggage you can carry through life.
You Aren’t Getting Any Younger, a column by Erma Bombeck © 1993 by Erma Bombeck
I put down the stubby pencil, took a sip of the warm punch balanced on my knees, and waited for the rest of the group to finish writing.
Metro Girl by Janet Evanovich © 2004 by Evanovich, Inc.
Just because I know how to change a man’s oil doesn’t mean I want to spend the rest of my life on my back, staring up his undercarriage. Been there, done that.
Birthday Celebration, a column by Dave Barry © 1982 & 1983 by Feature Associates
The Name “February” comes from the Latin word Februarius, which means “fairly boring stretch of time during which one expects the professional ice hockey season to come to an end but it does not.”
Cannibals and Nuns, a column by Andrew A. Rooney © 1982, 1983, 1984 by Essay Productions, Inc.
Well, finally. It’s over. I don’t have to anticipate its ending dread any longer. It’s been one damn summer weekend after another. If summer had lasted another month I might have died from all that relaxation.
Beer Is the Solution, a column by Dave Barry © 1982 & 1983 by Feature Associates
Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.
"I" is for Innocent by Sue Grafton © 1992 by Sue Grafton
I feel compelled to report that at the moment of death, my entire life did not pass before my eyes in a flash. There was no beckoning white light at the end of a tunnel. No warm fuzzy feeling that my long-departed loved ones were waiting on The Other Side.
How Much Happiness Can We Afford, a column by Erma Bombeck © 1993 by Erma Bombeck
The first wondrous miracle was thirteen months old when I discovered I was pregnant.
Hot Six by Janet Evanovich © 2000 by Evanovich, Inc.
Okay, so here’s the thing. My mother’s worst fear has come true. I’m a nymphomaniac. I lust after a lot of men. Of course, maybe that’s because I don’t actually have sex with any.
A Cold Cure? Who Nose?, a column by Dave Barry © 1982 & 1983 by Feature Associates
I say we give the medical community two more weeks to cure the common cold, and, if it doesn’t, we turn over the problem to a more competent outfit, like the Sony Corporation.
Whatever Happened to Romance, a column by Erma Bombeck © 1993 by Erma Bombeck
You don’t see it slipping away, but somewhere between wearing maternity underwear under a flannel nightgown to bed and receiving a salad spinner for Christmas, the romance fades.
Hard Eight by Janet Evonovich © 2002 by Evanovich, Inc.
Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time rolling on the ground with men who think a stiffy represents personal growth.
About lawn Order, a column by Dave Barry © 1982 & 1983 by Feature Associates
I got to thinking about ecology the other day when I ran over a turtle with my lawn mower.
Bless Me Everybody for I Have Sinned, a column by Erma Bombeck © 1993 by Erma Bombeck
You weren’t supposed to count the number of people ahead of you in the line outside of the confessional or keep track of how long they spent inside the shadowy cubicle, but everyone did it.
Socket to Them, a column by Dave Barry © 1982 & 1983 by Feature Associates
Today’s scientific question is: What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster?
Weave World by Clive Barker © 1987 by Clive Barker
Nothing ever begins.
©2009 by Bob Rockwell