Earlier this week, The Atlantic carried an interview with Stephen King in which he declared that he spends months and even years writing the beginning sentences of his novels. In this blog and elsewhere I have written about the power of first and last sentences, and this week Sarah Galo wrote a column for Buzz Feed Books,
“53 of the Best Opening Sentences in Literature.” A sample:

“One day, I was already old, in the entrance of a public place a man came up to me.”
—The Lover by Marguerite Duras

“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”
—The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

“Quietly, like a shadow, I watch this drama unfold scene by scene. I am the lucid one here, the dangerous one, and nobody suspects.”
—Love, Anger, Madness: A Haitian Triptych by Marie Vieux-Chauvet

“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”
—The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

“It was late in the spring when I noticed that a girl was following me, nearly the end of May, a month that means perhaps or might be.”
—Dietland by Sarai Walker

What these sentences have in common is that they draw the reader in right away.  They may communicate a lot of information or very little, but they are all intriguing  Here’s one more opening sentence from a book you may not have read yet, one which I highly recommend:

“At first she didn’t know her husband was missing.”
–Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate by Alexis Rankin Popik




About Alexis

Alexis Rankin Popik, author of Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate, is an award-winning short story writer whose work has appeared in The Berkshire Review and Potpourri Magazine. She has penned numerous articles about local history that have been published in Connecticut Explored and the University of Connecticut School of Law and The Hartford Seminary publications. A former union organizer, Popik traveled the country educating shipyard workers about health and safety and founded a labor-management health plan before turning to writing fiction full-time. She lives with her husband in New England.
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