You know it's going to be an interesting morning when the first person who walks through the door of your brand new downtown office is a 350-pound man named Precious.

People sometimes ask, "How do you write a whole book?"

My answer? One word at a time. It's the only way.

And so private investigator Nicholas Colt begins a new adventure. I don't outline, so I'm not exactly sure how it's going to go. See, that way it's an adventure for me as well.

Let's hear some of your favorite first lines from books published in 2008-2009. Or, from your own works in progress.

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The title of the book I'm working on is one word, but it is revealed early on to be an acronym.
Totally with you on this, I. J.
The High had been back together and on the road for a couple of months playing mostly casinos when the lead singer, Cliff Moore, got the idea to start robbing them.

That's the best I could do. I have nothing against the idea of a killer first line, but I've never been able to come up with one that fit with the rest of the story and started any kind of flow. That one's from the book I'm working on now, Tumbling Dice. I looked at the opening lines from my first three books but they were really nothing special.
Nice, John. I used to play in a traveling band, so this is a premise I can relate to. Not that we ever robbed any of the clubs, LOL, but we probably felt like after getting screwed by some of them.
Well, the next line is: Not the casinos so much, the shylocks working them.

Which is kind of what I mean about the first line not being too special, but more trying to bring the reader in.
I agree. Clever is nice, but the first line's primary purpose should be to make you want to read the second line. It may be through answering a question, setting a mood, or just by giving the reader a hint of the writing style. That's what I like best about the Crumley and Hughes examples I cited above. They made me want to keep reading.

You may not think much of your first lines, John, but that opening scene in NOWHERE is killer. I read that to my Beloved Spousal Equivalent, who said, "How could anyone not keep reading?"
I want the legs.

That's the opening sentence of QUEENPIN by Megan Abbott, and it sure made me want to read the second line.
See now that one works for me. Not overly cute or clever. Introduces the hook and the premise, plus a character. Nicely done.
I love first lines, first paragrpahs, first pages. James Crumley's THE LAST GOOD KISS is one of my favourites. And here's another from Daniel Woodrell's WINTER'S BONE:

"Ree Dolly stood at break of deay on her cold front steps and smelled coming flurries and saw meat. Meat hung from trees across the creek. The carcasses hung pale of flesh with a fatty gleam from low limbs of saplings in the side yards. Three halt haggard houses formed a kneeling rank on the far creekside and each had two or more skinned torsos dangling by rope from sagged limbs, venison left to the weather for two nights and three days so the early blossoming of decay might round the flavour, sweeten that meat to the bone.

Snow clouds had replaced the horizon, capped the valley darkly, and chafing wind blew so the hung meat twirled from jigging branches. Ree, brunette and sixteen, with milk skin and abrupt green eyes, stood bare-armed in a fluttering yellowed dress, face to the wind, her cheeks reddening as if smacked and smacked again.She stood tall in combat boots, scarce at the waist but plenty through the arms and shoulders, a body made for loping after needs."

I love that - all my senses are set to tingling :o)
Wow! Evocative. And a most unusual first line. :)
Here's the first line of my thriller FREEFALL (Berkley 2010): "No matter how many times the police asked Will Connelly to recount the events of that morning, his story always began -- and ended -- with the same details."
That is certainly suspicious. :)


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