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Writing Great Openers

Great openers can captivate readers and set the tone for your novel. Here are some notable opening lines from best-selling novels across different genres that you can use for inspiration:

  1. "It was a pleasure to burn." - Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury This opening line immediately raises questions and creates intrigue, making readers want to know more about why it's a pleasure to burn.

  2. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." - A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens This classic line presents a duality that hooks readers into the story, hinting at conflict and contrasts.

  3. "Call me Ishmael." - Moby-Dick by Herman Melville A simple, direct invitation from the narrator creates a sense of intimacy and curiosity about the character.

  4. "In my younger and more vulnerable years, my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since." - The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald This line introduces a reflective tone and hints at personal growth or change, drawing readers into the narrator's past.

  5. "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." - 1984 by George Orwell The unusual detail in this opening line immediately establishes a sense of a dystopian world and sparks curiosity.

  6. "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed." - The Gunslinger by Stephen King This line from the first book in The Dark Tower series sets up a chase and hints at a conflict that will drive the narrative.

  7. "When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow." - To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee This line introduces a moment of tension and hints at a significant event, encouraging readers to find out more.

  8. "Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much." - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling This line combines humor with the promise of a not-so-normal story, setting the stage for the magical world of Harry Potter.

  9. "I write this sitting in the kitchen sink." - I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith An unconventional and intriguing opening that immediately makes readers wonder why the narrator is sitting in the kitchen sink.

  10. "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 A witty and ironic opening that introduces a central theme of the novel, drawing readers into the social complexities of the time.

When crafting your opening line, consider setting the tone for your novel, introducing a compelling character or situation, and sparking curiosity to keep readers engaged from the very beginning.

Feel free to share with us your favorite opener!


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