Great First Sentences

I have often heard that the first sentence of a short story or a novel is very important to the work, as the first sentence should capture the reader's attention and make him or her want to continue reading the story.  So, as a little audience participation I would like to hear some great first sentences.  You can post them in the comments of this post.  If they are from a book you have read, please source the book.  I also welcome any first sentences that are your own work.  

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53 thoughts on “Great First Sentences

  1. One that I made up a long time ago and may actually have to use someday.

    Having sniffed his butt and spun around three times, the dog flopped onto his dead master’s feet.

    • The car shot down the road like a bullet. (OR) ….

      Have you ever wondered about life , your future and your past ? (OR) …

      Seems like a normal day. just get up. brush my hair and get dressed, then just sit there and wait in the porch.

      • Truth be told, ‘Where are my pants?’ is a common thought among many men AND women who are accustomed to the bar scene. It’s not as random as you’d think.

        Also, while it may provide some levity, it’s not necessarily only suited for comedy. It could be a fantastic start to a horror story about a one-night stand gone wrong… or a scifi where a soldier wakes up to a distress signal, but can’t quite take his hangover down… For example:

        “Where are my pants?”
        The room flashed red, on and off. Sirens blared. Colonel Jackson rummaged through the empty bottles and stacks of magazines, trying to filter through to any shred of wearable cloth. The com-panel on his wrist buzzed and blinked the same scarlet color as the warning lights running the border of every wall on the ship. He knew something was terribly wrong.

        While it does provide a bit of a grin, it shows the character as a complex slob… but, subtlety, you notice some redeeming qualities. He’s a colonel, so he has to have something that makes him worthy of that position.

        Sentences like these are great for hangovers.

  2. “There was something intrinsically strange about that girl with the wildfire hair and the chalybeous eyes”

    and

    “Andial stood, the single oddity among his kneeling and shielded men, unprotected from the growing promise of painful murder.”

    Both my own.

    • Thanks for these. Both are nice. I like the second one better.

      My problem with the first one is “chalybeous eyes”. I’d have to run to the dictionary to figure out what that means, which would draw me out of the story!

  3. She woke up in the dead of night, the sound of a gunshot ringing in her ears.

    The sound of rain filled her ears as the smell of dirt and dust clogged her nose.

    • I like both, particularly the first one. I would drop the word “up” though and just go with: “She woke in the dead of night, the sound of a gunshot ringing in her ears.”

  4. Omg, where are my pants?, This sentence is genious. Let me share my imagination i will make it up as i write:
    Where are my pants? OMG! This has got to stop. Where am I, humm! Funny? I don’t think i have ever Been here before. Linen, smell of wood and roses everywhere. Pink linen sheets, hold on, there is someone wrapped under these sheets. Who is she? Smooth brown skin sleeps like a Goddess. She is really beautiful, i wonder how we did it last night, did we?…and só on!

  5. I found a cool one: -As a thick misty fog suffocated a wooded valley/ crowded station, the rain and sleet beat down at a small twisted isolated path/ the numerous clusters of people.
    – “Wait! Stop!’ Jago exclaimed as he dashed past a large stack of neatly-labelled wooden barrels but it was too late. The tall raven-haired man ‘s silhouette disappeared round the corner of the crumbling storehouse; Jago gave a disappointed sigh and turned, the sun beating down on his bare shoulders. He padded across the dock where clusters of numerous men in breeches were hauling boxes up onto a enormus ship with a striped sail blowing in the strong wind. “Father!” He called to one of them, a tall man in his thirties with chesnut brown hair who was shouting orders at some of the rest of the men. THe man stopped and grinned down at Jago. “Yes, lad?”
    Random but gripping

  6. His every word left me gripping onto them as if it were my life he was speaking of. I had to stop, I told myself. This boy would steal my frozen heart, and I would pleasingly let him.

  7. ” It was one of those days. The kind where the clouds had taken the sun hostage and the rain overtook the earth like little warriors falling from the sky.”
    OR
    ” The pavement steamed in the sunlight from last nights rain. It had been three years since it had rained this hard.”
    OR
    “I bit my lip as I heard his footsteps behind me in the hall.
    “Don’t mess this up for yourself.” I whispered to myself.”

  8. In the beggining the universe was created, this made a lot of people angry and was widely regarded as a bad move.
    Or
    The ships hung in the sky, much like the way bricks don’t.

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