The First Few Lines

"I seemed to be standing in a bus queue by the side of a long, mean street. Evening was just closing in and it was raining. I had been wandering for hours in similar mean streets, always in the rain and always in evening twilight. Time seemed to have paused on that dismal moment when only a few shops have lit up and it is not yet dark enough for their windows to look cheering. And just as the evening never advanced to night, so my walking had never brought me to the better parts of the town."

C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

"Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show."

Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

"When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home."

S.E. Hinton, The Outsiders

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair."

Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

The first lines of a book will either grab me or lose me. They are so important to a great story and need to be beyond great, they need to be quotable and timeless.

I've started working on a novel and writing fiction is a whole different kind of monster then writing a reality. But I feel it's in here so I'm going to keep after it.

I am thinking though that writing the novel should come before the biography I've been working on for years because who really cares about reading my story? I both think it is and it isn't very interesting. But a fictional story made up of some realities I have known, well, that might be quite interesting and maybe after it is published then  people will want to read my biography. Maybe.

What are some of your favorite first lines from books?


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