The last time I saw a tee shirt I wanted to wear was when I found one that said, "Hand over the chocolate and nobody gets hurt." But I digress.
1. The aforementioned "Call me Ishmael" without the comma, which is from MOBY DICK by Herman Melville.
2. "Last night I dreamed of Manderly again," which is from my favorite book, REBECCA by Daphne du Maurier.
3. As a romance writer, I also like, "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.
4. "He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream, and he had gone 84 days without catching a fish." THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA by Ernest Hemingway.
5. "It was a dark and stormy night." PEANUTS fans know that Snoopy sat on top of his doghouse, typing that line into his typewriter. I assume you also know the line has been ridiculed as one of the worst, and that every year San Jose State University runs a Bulwer-Lytton contest in which "wretched writers" submit the first sentence of the worst possible book. Many of these are fabulous, but I'm not going to reprint one because it's hard to choose and can be as many as 60 words long.
I actually entered that contest once but didn't win any award. Maybe my sentence wasn't horrible enough, which is, I guess, a mixed blessing. But I still try to write memorable first sentences to my books, and here's a sample of ones I'm happy with.
There are a few more opening lines I'm pleased with, but those books are still in the hands of editors, waiting for acceptance. How about you? Do you enjoy trying to come up with a killer first line? Have you written any first lines in your books that you're especially proud of?