Hook, Line and Sinker

Is it possible to love a book from the opening line?

You bet. A good “hook” will make or break your story. That’s not to say every novel topping the NY Times Best Seller list attracted reader’s in the first paragraph. Ranked authors usually have a reputation that precedes them. Fans are content to let the story unfold, buoyed by knowledge the author crafted well written stories in the past and most likely has again.

For a debut author, however, it’s best to have a good opening hook. Something that packs a punch. Let’s look at some memorable opening lines from published works.

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. – Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

This is the saddest story I have ever heard. – Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier

We started dying before the snow, and like the snow, we continued to fall. – Louise Erdrich, Tracks

Ice hung from windowsills with a glitter that rivaled glass, and new snow turned the sooty streets to rivers of milk. – Eloisa James, An Affair Before Christmas

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

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, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way. – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

And one of my personal favorites:

Summer, that vicious green bitch, flexed her sweaty muscles and flattened Innocence, Mississippi. – Nora Roberts, Carnal Innocence

Remember, a good opening line will lead your reader right to the second, and if they reach the end of the second…they’re “hooked”.