First Line Catches the Reader

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21 Responses

  1. Molly says:

    I think it’s funny that you put your own first line in as a “famous” one. And surely there is a typo in it as written in the post. Hope that’s not what you intended, anyway.

    • deeannwaite says:

      Thanks Molly. I changed it up. I added mine because I’m proud of it and I think it’s a good one. 🙂 And thanks for pointing out the typo. It has been fixed.

  2. Another good post, Dee Ann! Here’s the opening line from “Deadly Catch,” my first Mac McClellan Mystery:


    I believe strong openings are a must in today’s flooded book market. It doesn’t have to necessarily be the opening line, but the opening line should set up a soon-to-happen event that will grab the reader’s attention. In “Deadly Spirits,” Mac mystery #4 (due out Jan. ’16) the opening line does just that:


    Mac is a skeptic, but to please Kate he’s joined a local paranormal group investigating a supposedly haunted hotel. At the top of page 4 there’s a blood-curdling scream from below. Mac rushes down to find the body of their group leader lying dead with a broken neck at the foot of the stairs. Only there was no sound of anyone tumbling down the stairs.

    So, my opinion is that grabbing opening lines are important, but they can also set the scene for the action to begin in the book’s first few pages.

    Thanks again for the informative post! –Michael

    • deeannwaite says:

      Hi Michael! Thanks for reading. Keep trying to post your opening lines, I’d love to see them. I completely agree on your comments on how the first line is a setup for things to come: action, suspense, etc. It really has to pop, catch the reader, make them say, whaaat? and keep on reading.

      Your book is out in January? Great! Let me know in December and I’ll have you on my blog to promote it. 🙂

      Thanks again for stopping by.

      All my best, Dee

      • Hi, Dee Ann:

        From “Deadly Catch” — The first cast of the day turned my dream vacation into a nightmare.

        From “Deadly Spirits” — I felt like a complete idiot following my girlfriend, Kate Bell, up the narrow dusty stairs to the attic above the third floor. (This sets up the scene of a murder that occurs on page 4.)

  3. Hmm, don’t know why my opening lines didn’t show up.

  4. Debra says:

    My all time favorite opening line has got to be from the C.S. Lewis book VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER. “There once was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb. And he almost deserved it.”

  5. Delia Latham says:

    Great post! I’m a big believer in the power of first lines. Here’s one from Lea’s Gift, a novella co-written by Tanya Stowe and myself:

    The scars on my face have never bothered me.

    • deeannwaite says:

      Thanks so much Delia. Oooo, I like that first line. Makes the reader curious enough to want to find out where the scars came from. And why don’t they bother her? Is she proud of them? Are the battle scars? Great first line.

  6. Hi, Dee:

    I forgot to mention that when I re-read your opening line from “Consequential Element” (above), it immediately jumped out at me that I remembered it verbatim from reading the book. So, sticking in the mind of a reader goes to prove how effective your opening line was (is). –Michael

  7. deeannwaite says:

    Thanks Michael!

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