To make a first impression.
And other things your mother told you. So I'm watching Steven Seagal yesterday (part of my health and fitness program) and I hear this line.
We're not here to decide who is wrong or who is right. We're here to decide who lives and who dies.
Now...is it just me or is that not one of the funniest lines of the week? I'm convinced he (the writer?) really was trying to say something there. And the scariest part is...I sort of get what he was trying to say. Or maybe the wine and dark chocolate is getting to me. Anyway, I admire Steven for trying something new (a horror flick in this case) but the film was not a success. Not even by the standard of Steven Seagal flicks.
Anyway, I've been reading -- and enjoying -- and I'm thinking about first lines. There's nothing like a great first line to hook reader interest. Granted, a catchy or quirky first line that is not in keeping with the rest of the book...that is not relevant or is merely quirky for the sake of quirky or doesn't match the tone...isn't going to do you any favors. By the same token, it takes a lot more than a catchy first line to sell a reader on a story.
And there are first lines that...in themselves aren't that catchy, but as the paragraph builds, they're part of a clever whole.
So I went through my ever-expanding ebook file and I chose some first lines at random. Some are good. Some are bad. Some, as I said, don't seem impressive on their own, but work well within the context of the first paragraph.
See what you think. I'll leave the author's names and works off till later. I'd just like your thoughts.
1 - Joel Passaro wasn’t sure what constituted a better birthday present: the boat ride or the blowjob.
2 - The bell rang out twice, unbearably sweet.
3 - Gareth's boots thundered against the stone floor of the corridor as he approached Tristam's private chamber.
4 - In the cargo pit of the shanghai-taxi, Nickerson’s gen-stimmed olfactory sense detected the aromas of hot oil, metal shavings, and sweat-dank desperation.
5 - Cade squinted at the travel alarm clock on the coffee table.
6 - An ear-piercing screech echoed through the castle followed by the slap of bare feet on marble floor.
7 - As Tony Bianchi sat in on yet another business meeting his mind began to wander to Daniel Willis.
8 - THE smell of cheap motel rooms was comforting to him, like his oldest, rattiest T-shirt.
9 - Finally, the night I had waited for all my life was here.
10 - He’s nothing but another slave,” I said, sourly.
11 - I stormed into St. Joe’s at the height of the Noon Ash Wednesday Mass.
Feel free to share your own favorite first line. Or your treasured worst first line.