Half of my face is numb.
Wouldn’t that be a great opening sentence for a story? Well, some story besides the real one. The real one is rather mundane and involves me, a dentist’s chair and about an hour’s worth of dental work. But what if that wasn’t the tale?
Why, yes, yes I AM sleep deprived today. How kind of you to ask. I’ve reached the state where I begin to doubt the spelling of simple words like the. Maybe Half of my face is numb would be the lamest story opener ever.
I stayed up all night Saturday night watching over a sick husband and Sunday didn’t hold much catch-up time for sleep. Today my brain is mush. I’m typing in Cat (a language that resembles the result of a cat walking across a computer keyboard) and my judgment of the quality of opening lines is suspect. So if I post again later, and suggest that Add toilet parpy to the grocely tist would also make a good opening line, feel free to ignore me.
Just for grins, and because when I’m very tired I tend to think punchy thoughts and do punchy things, I went looking for examples of the best opening lines for novels.
American Book Review has a list of 100. The books are classics, and I’m not saying they aren’t good, but of all the opening lines of all the books to choose from, these are the best opening lines? Really?
Call me Ishmael. Whoop. Call me bored.
They don’t all have that affect on me. Some of my favorite opening lines are there, too. Which just goes to show that what appeals to one reader, won’t necessarily ring any chimes for another.
Not on the list, my all time favorite from childhood: E. B. White’s opener for Charlotte’s Web:
“Where’s Papa going with that axe?” said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.
Yet, Bulwer-Lytton’s It was a dark and stormy night… made the cut? I don’t get it.
I like an opening line that makes me ask questions, charms me, or thrusts me right into the thick of things. How about you? What does it take for an opening line to pull you into a story?