Great Opening Lines – and Why! (Oct 2021’s Great Opening Lines)

I wrote in Great Opening Lines – and Why! (Part 3 – Some Great Opening Lines) that I’d share more great opening lines as I found them.

It’s been eight months since I posted some great opening lines. It’s been a while and it was worth it to find this gem; Mark Hayes’ Passing Place.

“The Greyhound pulled away into the thunderous summer storm, leaving in its wake a dishevelled, world-weary figure in the dark, deserted bus station.” – Mark Hayes’ Passing Place

Scene, tone, atmosphere, mood, setting, and character in twenty-four words.

Whoa!

I don’t know how he did it and Hayes put me smack in the American midwest. I’ve been in hellacious thunderstorms on several continents and tying the storm to the Greyhound bus nails it. Anybody who’s traveled America by bus has had these experiences.

The Greyhound pulled away… – Isolation, loneliness, being left behind

…into the thunderous summer storm,… – Beautifully rhythmic and alliterative, the storm is thunderous. It is loud. Banging. Crushing.

…leaving in its wake… – again we’re being left behind, isolated, alone.

…a dishevelled, world-weary figure… – The leaving bus and the storm are already deserting and crushing the spirit of this (as yet) unknown character and here it is stated to prove our sense of him or her.

…in the dark, deserted bus station. – Everything from the above and more so. If you as reader aren’t collapsing under the weight this poor character is carrying, stop reading because you’re not getting it and you should. Beautiful, beautiful, and beautiful. I wrote in my complete review of Hayes’ Passing Place how impressed I am by this book, here’s a sample of its power.

Read it. You’ll be better for it.

Do you have any great opening lines you’d like to share?
I’d love to know them. There’s a catch, though. You have to explain in context why a line is great. Saying a line is great because it comes from some great literature doesn’t cut it. Quoting from archaic and/or little known works doesn’t cut it.

Feel free to quote from archaic and/or little know works, just make sure you give reasons why something is great. I stated the Great Opening Lines criteria back in Great Opening Lines – and Why! (Part 2 -What Makes a Great Opening Line?).

So by all means, make the claim. Just make sure you provide the proof according to the guidelines given. If not, your comment won’t get published.

Great Opening Lines – and Why! (Feb 2021’s Great Opening Lines)

I wrote in Great Opening Lines – and Why! (Part 3 – Some Great Opening Lines) that I’d share more great opening lines as I found them.

It’s been almost a year since I posted some great opening lines. I’ve read some fine books during Covid, none of them with remarkable opening lines, though.

This month, I read three. One’s a reread of a book originally read as a child and recently reread, one’s a book that’s been on my shelf for too many years unread, the third is from a SouthernLit author new to me.
Continue reading “Great Opening Lines – and Why! (Feb 2021’s Great Opening Lines)”

Great Opening Lines – and Why! (Sept 2020’s Great Opening Lines)

I wrote in Great Opening Lines – and Why! (Part 3 – Some Great Opening Lines) that I’d share more great opening lines as I found them.

This month’s great opening lines deal with youth and how we as adults reconcile our youths.

“My room is cold.” – S.M. Stevens’ Horseshoes and Hand Grenades
So simple and so powerful. Four short words and we’re already inside the character, have a sense of isolation, deprivation, futility, victimization, … Wow. Not since Anne McCaffery’s “Lessa woke, cold.” in Dragonflight has so simple an opening been so evocative.
Continue reading “Great Opening Lines – and Why! (Sept 2020’s Great Opening Lines)”

Great Opening Lines – and Why! (Aug 2020’s Great Opening Lines)

I wrote in Great Opening Lines – and Why! (Part 3 – Some Great Opening Lines) that I’d share more great opening lines as I found them.

This month’s great opening lines deal with two damsels in distress.

“I lay on a metal surface, unable to move, in a dark room except for a single light bulb swinging in a far corner.” – Steve Searls’ My Travels With a Dead Man
Kinesthetic and visual sensory information, a sense of isolation, and threat in twenty-four words. Bravo!
Continue reading “Great Opening Lines – and Why! (Aug 2020’s Great Opening Lines)”

Great Opening Lines – and Why! (Mar 2020’s Great Opening Lines)

I wrote in Great Opening Lines – and Why! (Part 3 – Some Great Opening Lines) that I’d share more great opening lines as I found them.

“Arterial blood has sprayed onto the walls; the tannoy is breaking into a staccato and the student nurse, Linda, recalls a childhood wish for invisibility” – Terry Melia’s Tales from the Greenhills

“…has sprayed…”, “…is breaking…”, and “…recalls…” – I’ve written elsewhere that I need to know Melia sweated every word choice. If the word choice above was automatic and obvious, I’m giving up writing. The first sentence of Tales from the Greenhills is present tense, direct address, and action. You are there in the center of it and the action is intense. You see the arterial blood dripping down the walls. The tannoy (British for “loudspeaker”) is making terse, abrupt statements – probably operational rather than informative based on the “arterial blood” line – and we’re given a point-of-view character who is 1) a student – she’s young, 2) a nurse – she should know what she’s doing but from (1) we know she’s in over her head, 3) recalling a childhood – she’s looking for peace, comfort, refuge, safety, 4) invisibility – she wants to get away, hide, be free of what’s happening.

And in twenty-five words.

And it keeps getting better.

Tales from the Greenhills is a must read for authors and writer-wannabes. It is a textbook of style, voice, language, dialogue, setting, …

Sorry, if I’m gushing. It’s that good.

Do you have any great opening lines you’d like to share?
I’d love to know them. There’s a catch, though. You have to explain in context why a line is great. Saying a line is great because it comes from some great literature doesn’t cut it. Quoting from archaic and/or little known works doesn’t cut it.

Feel free to quote from archaic and/or little known works, just make sure you give reasons why something is great. I stated the Great Opening Lines criteria back in Great Opening Lines – and Why! (Part 2 -What Makes a Great Opening Line?).

So by all means, make the claim. Just make sure you provide the proof according to the guidelines given. If not, your comment won’t get published.