The Elusive First Line

I judge books by their first lines. Well, if I’m being completely honest, first I judge them by their covers. Then by their titles. And then by their first lines.

I’m guessing I’m not the only one who does this. (Right?)

To be fair, the first line doesn’t determine whether or not I’ll read the book; but it does impact my enthusiasm for the book.

Take, for example, The Knife of Never Letting Go. My friend Amy Sundberg recommended this book to me a while back (Thanks, Amy!). I finally picked it up the last time I was at the store. I read the first line, and I knew I had to read the book. Great first line.

You can imagine, then, the pressure I put on myself to write good first lines. Because I know there’s someone else out there like me who is going to weigh in on the stamina of my story based solely on the first line. Eek.

This weekend while working on novel revisions, I finally found my first line. I mean, I’ve had a first line for a while, but it wasn’t THE first line, if you know what I mean. I knew it would change, but I hadn’t known yet to what. And this weekend I think I found it. The line that is worthy to launch the story. The line that hopefully has enough weight (and intrigue…and voice…) to make a reader keep reading.

Oh, I’m not kidding myself. I know it could easily change. And probably will.

But for now, I’ve found the elusive first line.

(Tell me I’m not the only one who goes through this, please.)