Tuesday, February 23, 2021

A Fave

What’s your favorite first line of a book or story, and why? Then tell us your favorite first line from one of your books and stories, and why.

From Frank

I thought about this one for a little bit, knocked around a few contenders, but in the end, it wasn't even close.

The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.

Thus begin's Stephen King's magnum opus, the seven-tome Dark Tower series (actually, eight, if you count the "side-quel"... and of course, there are tie-ins all through the Kingverse).

Why do I like it? 

It has action. Someone is fleeing. Someone is pursuing. Something is clearly happening. 

It also has mystery. Who is the man in black? Who is the gunslinger following him? Why?

It is simple. No complex words, just powerful ones.

Lastly, it is short. Reading the sentence takes just a couple of seconds, and you're hooked (or I was, at least).

Now, I'm an admirer of King on a variety of levels. But even I will admit that he has, at times, written rather thick books that weren't a breeze to get through some of the swampier areas. Actually, I seem to recall some of that even happening in this particular series.

But man, what a first line, huh?

In my own work, I think one of my favorite first lines comes from At Their Own Game, the first book in my SpoCompton series.

So far, I've been to jail three different ways.

Why do I like it? I think it has a little bit of mystery to it, and it immediately ties into who the narrator is. As one discovers on page one, he's a former cop turned criminal. So one of the ways he went to jail was to book prisoners an officer, one was when he was himself booked, and the third... well, the third is right now.


I hope so. That's the idea.

If you did, you can learn more by clicking on the cover. It's not my most recent book, but it is an ongoing series that will have a novella and two more novels in it, at the least.


Lawrence Maddox said...

James Bond, with two double bourbons inside him, sat in the final departure lounge of Miami Airport and thought about life and death.-Goldfinger, Ian Fleming. Goldfinger isn't the best of Fleming's Bonds. Some of his Bonds aren't very good (The Spy Who Love Me, for instance). If they read like that opening sentence, they'd all be better than the movie versions.

Catriona McPherson said...

That's amazing. I asked Suzie Calkins this question and she came up with that line too.

Frank Zafiro said...

@LARRY - Great example. Not a Bond fan but I dig that line.

@CATRIONA - Suzie read At Their Own Game? Kidding. I'm glad there are others who feel the same way about King's opening line to The Gunslinger.