Recently, I’ve read a few articles about how to write a wonderful first sentence for a novel. My choice, which is from my favorite book, REBECCA, by Daphne du Maurier, is, “Last night I dreamed I went to Manderly again.”
None of my opening sentences are like that, but here are some:
COLD APRIL, a romance novel set on board the Titanic. “Throngs of people crowded the docks at Southampton. Passengers just disembarking from the ship, and visitors who came to welcome them, shared the space with automobiles and even a few horse-drawn vehicles. Elizabeth Shallcross hurried through the crush.”
BEATING THE ODDS, A romance about a horse that wins the Kentucky Derby. “The hairs along the back of her neck rose; a cold wave swept up her skin. Someone was watching her. Kerry Frayne told herself there was nothing to be afraid of, but the feeling returned, stronger than before.”
DANGEROUS CHOICES, a mainstream novel about painters flying to an art show in Honolulu. “Exactly an hour and fifteen minutes after taking off from Los Angeles International Airport, First Officer Reg Humboldt felt the strange vibration. For a split second, a tremor of fear clutched at him, tightened his gut. The DC-6 was heading to Honolulu at 22,000 feet, and the last thing he wanted to think about was trouble.”
DEAD IN THE WATER, A mystery with humor, set in the U.K. “No one murdered Edward Mason. At least I didn’t think so. Since he was eighty-two years old, he apparently died of the usual ‘natural causes.’ However, the case of his forty-years-younger wife, Noreen, was a different matter.”
EYEWITNESS, a romantic-suspense novel, which takes place in Kentucky. ”He was going to have her killed, and there wasn’t a damn thing she could do about it.
‘Come on, Babe, smile. This isn’t a funeral.’”
FINDING AMY, a romantic suspense novel which takes place in London and Paris. “As if it weren’t depressing enough that Sabrina sat alone in her Chicago condo on a Saturday night, her father telephoned with bad news. ‘Your British grandfather has died.‘”
That’s only six, and I’ve had nineteen books published, so I’ll do this again soon. By the way, all the books I listed above were published, so the first lines I used didn’t hurt, and maybe helped.