Memorable First Lines



A storm struck on the night Laura Shane
was born

I read that line back in 1989, and I have never
forgotten it. But why? What made this line from LIGHTNING by Dean Koontz, an
author I’d never read before, stick with me? It struck me enough that I bought
the book after reading that first line. Other lines have stuck with me through
the years. Such as Jane Austen’s first line from the classic PRIDE AND PREJUDICE,
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a
good fortune must be in want of a wife.” That line always makes me roll my eyes
and snicker. So much sarcasm wrapped up in that elegant prose.

This is my goal. To write first lines that will
capture readers’ attention immediately.

One of my favorite first lines from a book I’ve
written is from A DARK SILENCE. “Heidi Martin flipped on the overhead light and
looked into the eyes of a killer.”

I love throwing the reader immediately into the
inciting event. Sometimes I do this with dialogue. I was interested in discovering
the favorite first lines of some of my author friends. I asked them to include
both books that they had read and books they had written. Here are a few I
learned. (I’m keeping a list of books I need to add to my TBR shelf!)

Katy Lee: “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley
again.” This iconic line is from REBECCA by Daphne du Maurier. Katy Lee’s
favorite line she’d written was from SANTE FE SETUP.  “Luci Butler was a thief. Albeit a cute one,
but still a thief.”

Lisa Phillips said her favorite line came from her
book COLD DEAD NIGHT. “If Kenna didn’t run fast enough, a child would die tonight.”

Sami A. Abrams chose: “Did the crazy girl want to get
herself killed?” from IMPENDING STRIKE.

Rebecca Hemlock’s favorite line she’d written was from
her book HIDDEN PASSAGES TO DARK SECRETS: “Levi wasn’t sure he’d ever
experienced “normal”.” Her favorite line from something she read was, “Melancholy
was a condition of the spirit and soul, but also of the mind.” (Jaime Jo

Kelly Underwood offered a line from UNINTENDED DETOUR
by D.L. Wood. “Do I have what it takes to kill a man?” From her own writing,
she gave me the first line from DEFENDING HONOR, “Laila Rabbinowitz tossed the
binoculars onto the passenger seat and stifled a shudder.”

Jennifer Pierce, the author of EXPECTING DANGER, wrote,
“The hair on the back of Kate’s neck stood on end, and the feeling of being
watched crawled along her skin in goose bumps.”

Author Shannon Redmon said one of her favorite first
lines was from THE GUARDIAN by John Grisham, “Duke Russel is not guilty of the
unspeakable crimes for which he is convicted; nonetheless he is scheduled to be
executed for them in one hour and forty-four minutes.”

Of course, no discussion of great first lines would be
complete without including an author who had won an award for the best first
line. Dani Pettrey won the Thrillerfest’s Best First Sentence Contest for the
first line in her novel, SUBMERGED:

“Never wager unless you control the stakes.”

And now I want to go and read some of these great books!

So what about you? What are some of the most memorable
first lines you’ve ever read? I’m giving away a copy of one of my backlist
books to one commenter. 

Dana R. Lynn is an award-winning
author of romantic suspense and Amish romance who believes in the power of God
to touch people through stories. Although she grew up in Illinois, she met her
husband at a wedding in Pennsylvania and told her parents she had met her
future husband. Nineteen months later, they were married. Today, they live in
rural Pennsylvania and are entering the world of empty nesters. She is a
teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing by day and writes stories of romance
and danger at night. She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray with the Steve
Laube Agency. Dana is an avid reader, loves cats and thinks chocolate should be
a food group. Readers can contact her or sign up to receive her monthly
newsletter at



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