My new favorite opening lines of a novel

By Katharine Swan On Wednesday, March 26, 2008 At 4:03 PM

The things you find when you look through your drafted posts! Evidently I wrote this post back in February but never published it:

A while back I read The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean. Although I blogged about it on Livre du Jour, I wanted to bring it up here because its opening lines are now my favorite of any novel I've ever read.

This is how the book begins:

I have been in love with Titus Oates for quite a while now — which is ridiculous, since he's been dead for ninety years. But look at it this way. In ninety years I'll be dead, too, and then the age difference won't matter.

Who wouldn't want to keep reading, after an opening paragraph like that??

I've never been one of those writers who pays close attention to the opening lines of every novel I read, though I certainly know how important they are. I recently read and reviewed BAM: First Pages, which is about this very subject: How to write an opening to your novel that will grab the reader's — and, more importantly, the editor's — attention.

All I can say is that Geraldine McCaughrean is my new hero, as far as opening lines go.


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Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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