It has often been said that the most important part of your story is the first sentence. If you hook your reader in the first few words, and continue to write an interesting story, chances are, they will continue reading! But first sentences really are important. You may have a great sentence down the next paragraph, but as someone once said, "If your reader doesn't get that far, he'll never read it!" :) "Once Upon a Time" is a dear, old-fashioned opening, but let's agree, it is over-used by now! :) I was thinking about this idea, and so I thought I'd examine some famous books, and see how great their first sentences were! :)
Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers:"If you want to find Cherry Tree Lane, all you have to do is ask the policeman at the crossroads." Right away, we wonder what Cherry Tree Lane is, and why the policeman knows. We continue to read! :)
The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens: "Marley was dead to begin with. There's no doubt whatever about that." Ha! I love this one. Obviously, this captures our attention magnificently, as it is an extremely uncouth way to begin a tale! :)
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett: "When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor, to live with her uncle, every one said she was the most disagreeable looking child ever seen." Don't you wish to find out what made her disagreeable?
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: "Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents!" grumbled Jo, lying on the rug." Well, why don't they have any presents this year? We keep reading! :)
And the best one of all! :) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." Oh boy! You begin laughing from the start, and that single sentence has entirely captured your attention! :)
Do you see what I mean? How very important first sentences are? I am afraid I don't do a great job of first sentences....the best one I've come up with is....well...it's not great so I'm not posting it! :P Hope this helped inspire you to come up with witty openings! :) -Rachel
I'm Rachel Heffington; in varying degress, that will mean a dreamer, a writer, a people-lover, and a great many other things. I write chiefly because I read, and I read chiefly because the love of Story is writ on my soul and I cannot escape it. I hope I can inspire readers with an ache for that one Story of which we are each a part. I released my debut novel, Fly Away Home (available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble online) in February, 2014, and my short Cinderella retelling (The Windy Side of Care) is scheduled to be released in the Five Glass Slippers collection published by Rooglewood Press in June.
I am so pleased to make your acquaintance; do stick around and partake in the whimsy!