I began a new manuscript the other day. It was an accident. Truly, it was. I had meant to simply write down (because I've learned the lesson of If Thou Writeth It Not, Thou Shalt Forget) a first sentence which jumped into my head before I went to sleep the night before. I wrote the sentence. Then I wrote the next one. Then I wrote another. You know where this is going, don't you? Before I knew it, I had over 5,000 words in one sitting.
I was (to use a good English expression) gobsmacked. This has never happened to me before. I took it as a good sign. I shall tease you with this - it takes place in modern day Canada. It's a comedy. No one dies. Not even by choking on a rubber chicken.
Here are some of my favourite first lines from authors far more talented than myself.
Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin.
A.A. Milne - Winnie the Pooh
Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, `and what is the use of a book,' thought Alice `without pictures or conversation?'
Lewis Carroll - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.
J.R.R. Tolkien - The Hobbit
William Shakespeare - Hamlet
"Mrs Whitaker found the Holy Grail; it was under a fur coat."
Neil Gaiman - Chivalry
"All children, except one, grow up"
J.M. Barrie - Peter Pan
Early this morning, 1st January 2021, three minutes after midnight, the last human being to be born on earth was killed in a pub brawl in a suburb of Buenous Aires, aged twenty-five years, two months and twelve days.
PD James - Children of Men
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
George Orwell - 1984
James Bond, with two double bourbons inside him, sat in the final departure lounge of Miami Airport and thought about life and death.
Ian Fleming - Goldfinger
The last camel died at noon.
Ken Follet - The Key to Rebecca
They both wore thin rubber masks.
Dick Francis - Bonecrack
Eunice Parchman killed the Coverdale family because she could not read or write.
Ruth Rendall - A Judgement in Stone
Please share your favourite first line - or your favourites!