Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The Beginning

The very first sentence of you story is the most important of all. It's the sentence that has to take a hold of the reader; it has to be interesting enough to make the reader want to continue. It has to hint about the story, but obviously not give too much away. I find the beginning to be very difficult, simply because there are so many different ways you can begin a story. How to possible choose the very best way to start? It's not like someone is going to hand you a cookie when you find the perfect sentence (unfortunately). So I thought I would share a few sentences from books I like, in order to see how those authors chose to start their novels. I'm going to begin with perhaps the most famous first sentence, and then just randomly choose some of the books from my bookcase. Hopefully you can find something to inspire you, or maybe even something to avoid (who knows?). Hope it helps!

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." (Could there be a better way to start a novel?!)

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
"The story that follows is one I never intended to commit to paper."

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
"It was 7 minutes after midnight."

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
"In the land of Ingary, where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of three."

The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl
"Joan Kurtz, the chief of the Boston police, breathed in some of his heft for a better fit between the two chambermaids."

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
"prognosis riport 1 martch 3"

Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga
"I was not sorry when my brother died."

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
"Tyler gets me a job as a waiter, after that Tyler's pushing a gun in my mouth and saying, the first step to eternal life is you have to die."

Perfume by Patrick Süskind
"In eighteenth-century France there lived a man who was one of the most gifted and abominable personages in an era that knew no lack of gifted and abominable personages."

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
"No one who had ever seen Catheringe Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be a heroine."

Stone of Tears by Terry Goodkind
"Rachel clutched her doll tighter to her chest and stared at the dark thing watching her from the bushes."

Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb
"A history of the Six Duchies is of necessity a history of its ruling family, the Farseers."

1 comment:

  1. I often struggle mightily with my first sentence, and even my first page. Here is one of my opening lines, from last year's NaNo novel:

    "The night Orestes died, we had a very stupid fight."