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.  

72 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”


    “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.”

    • I guess it’s good, but to be honest, it doesn’t sound right that you put ‘filled her ears’ twice. “She woke up in the still of the night, bursts of gunshots ringing in her ears while the infiltrating aroma of dirt and dust swelled in her nostrils.”

  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.”
    ” The pavement steamed in the sunlight from last nights rain. It had been three years since it had rained this hard.”
    “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.
    The ships hung in the sky, much like the way bricks don’t.

  9. It was one o’clock in the morning when he was woken from his peaceful sleep by a man falling through the ceiling.
    One of my own(:

  10. 1. “One cappuccino over here, Joe!” Glorious aromas of fresh brewed coffee filled the cafe once I put my foot through the door. The tapping of feet against the paved floor while mugs were set on the tables made my mouth water, my legs urgently pulling me to the counter where I was greeted by a cheery, pink-faced woman.
    2. Get out me swamp.
    Number two was a joke.
    Number one wasn’t.
    Get shrekt.

  11. I was literally shaking as I stood in front of the classroom, eyes shut so tight I could see silver stars beneath my eyelids and wondering if I was going to go blind.

  12. She stood there in the train station looking like an angel. she was beautiful in her knee length white dress and flawless blonde curled hair that flowed down to her waist. But I knew that there was more to her behind that fake smile.

    -This is my own that I just came up with. Feel free to use this as inspiration ❤

  13. “Darkness drove out the light on days like this”


    “Shocked silence fell across the crowd as my best friend murdered an innocent woman”


    “The man gripped my sister and slung her across her should. her red hair pooled down like a waterfall as she kicked and screamed at the large man; her captor. “Stop!” a woman screamed. “She is only fifteen!” I turned around and a bold woman emerged from the next room. “She is old enough, Karlee!” The man spat back at her. “Old enough? This is not what we talked about!” The woman yelled helplessly trying to save a girl who she didn’t even know.”

    I have no idea where these ideas came from… I made them up on the spot 🙂 I might use some of the third one for my story but I hope they give you inspiration :3

  14. My confessions would cost me my life.

    I gave off only a dim light, but the world was dark and cruel around me, pushing me to shine like a true star.

    The sky was dark, a few jeweled stars peeking out from the soft curtain of midnight blue.

    The clock was a vision of dread. Each second was mine. Each tick sent me into a frenzy. My nails had long since been nibbled to nubs. My eyes had grown accustomed to staring at the tiny black numbers, making me dizzy when I looked away.

    Personally, in a first sentence, I kind of like something that lets you know part of something, but leaves you wanting to know more.

  15. Sometimes life gets hard but I’ll tell you something reader, death is harder. Trust me I know. (OR)

    Her piercing blue eyes stayed glued to me as I walked into the room. Away from her, away from everything. (OR)

    The light from the desk illuminated his face so if you walked into the room you’d see a sort of halo around his bent over figure. It was almost ironic that this man, in particular, would have a halo (OR)

    I stumbled home drunk at four in the morning, and as I put my keys in the lock the door opened. I looked up. “Hello (name)”. Shit. “Hi Mum”.

    I’m not sure about any of them – but I think they might be a little bit useful for someone. I think my favourite is either the first one or the third, the last one was me just having a bit of a laugh. Hope they help.

  16. Sometimes, I wake up and wonder what my life would be like in another place, then I hear the screaming outside my bedroom window and remember why I can’t leave yet
    This one should be a bit of an interesting one 😉

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