When I was new to writing, I’d read that an author should make the first line the best. It’s your hook, so make it memorable. Another book said an author should sum up the entirety of their book in the first line. I thought that the second was absurd and you couldn’t possibly do both….then I started opening up books in my library.
Here are some of my favorites that I found:
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The reader gets several things about this story from this one line: a satirical piece on socioeconomic status in relation to marriage and societal expectations. It’s also as sad commentary on the predicament women were in a the time. They had to ‘land’ a husband or possibly find themselves penniless and homeless.
“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—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens