Friday, February 7, 2014


Who can forget that first great line of Charlotte's Web? 

'"Where's Papa going with that ax?" said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.'

Immediately, we are intrigued.  Where is Fern's father going?  Why would a father walk around with an ax?  Before breakfast?

Great first lines pull a reader in, make them want to continue reading your work. 

Consider this first line from Belle Prater's Boy by Ruth White:  "Around 5:00a.m. on a warm Sunday morning in October 1953, my Aunt Belle left her bed and vanished from the face of the earth."

Wow, how can you not keep reading this after this opening sentence? 

Or from Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman:  "12th Day of September.  I am commanded to write an account of my days:  I am bit by fleas and plagued by family.  That is all there is to say."

Already, we, as readers, appreciate that our main character, Birdy, is irreverent and has a great sense of humor. 

First sentences are your way as a writer to capture your audience's attention quickly.  So take time when you begin your story.  A great first line may mean the difference between readers who can't wait to read on and ones who quickly put down your work.

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