Thursday, July 31, 2014

"It Was a Dark and Stormy Night"**

I've been meaning to do a post about first lines of novels for a while now.  I had successfully procrastinated until today, when, while browsing through my Facebook messages--one of the methods of writing-procrastinating that normally works well for me--I ran across an intriguing challenge by one of my Facebook "friends."

Shameless Name Dropping

Ahem:  I am a Facebook friend of Jerry Jenkins, author of the Left Behind series of books about the end of the world as we know it, which has sold a gazillion copies and made him a very rich man. 

Our friendship happened this way:  I managed to get on his "friend" list early in his Facebook career, just before he hit the cutoff mark of 1000.

Anyway, Jerry Jenkins has the distracting habit of posting a challenging question every day on Facebook that requires a response.  Most of them I manage to ignore, but this one intrigued me. 

He said:  Grab the book closest to you and share the author's name and the first line. 

He had me from the words, "first line."

Out of the first 65 comments in response to his challenge I found seven I think are great first-liners.  One is from a book I've read.  Two are from ones I haven't read yet by authors I already know and like.  And four are one-liners I wish I'd written, from books I now want to read.

How Do These Grab You?

"We only have a few hours, so listen carefully."
Rick Riordan.  The Red Pyramid  

"Jesus Christ was executed at a place so public that the sign explaining his death had to be printed in three languages, at a crossroads so well traveled that most of the people who saw him tortured were merely passing by."
Stephen Mansfield.  Killing Jesus

"My parents absolutely ruined me."

"Before He called me forth from the grave, Jesus wept."
Bodie & Brock Thoene.  When Jesus Wept
"Prayer is the divine enigma--that marvelous mystery hidden behind the cloud of God's omnipotence."

"It was mid afternoon in New Babylon, and David Hassad was frantic."
Jerry Jenkins & Tim LaHaye.  The Mark

"What if I said, 'Stop praying?'"
Francis Chan.  Crazy Love

Sigh :-(

More books to add to the stack by my bedside.  Yes, this picture is of the actual stack.  I'm pretty sure I won't get through them all before I die but I'll work my way down the pile, one by one.  It will be good for my writing-procrastination goal, at least.

What are your favorite first lines?  I'm not totally against adding to the pile.

** The title of this post is the most famous first line of all time that begins A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L'Engle

No comments: