What’s the first line of your manuscript? Go on, have a look, I can wait. Look at it with objective eyes – is it flashy? Quietly interesting? Foreboding and suspenseful? Maybe it’s something you slaved over, or something you wrote without thinking, but your first line is the first impression a reader will get of your manuscript. (Okay, first after your cover letter and synopsis, if we’re at the submission stage, but still. It’s important.)
It’s like a handshake. ‘Hi, I’m a romance novel’. ‘I’m a textbook.’ ‘I’m a beautifully-written book about nothing in particular.’ It’s all about introducing yourself.
Science fiction blog io9 has collected a bunch of first lines from science-fiction novels, a genre which by definition can travel the scope of weird, intriguing ideas. As such, the first lines of these books have the room to be completely odd, but looking at the different ways each writer gets going can tell you quite a bit about the book to come:
"The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel." From Neuromancer, by William Gibson.
"The manhunt extended across more than one hundred light years and eight centuries." From A Deepness In The Sky, by Vernor Vinge.
"In the summer of his twelfth year — the summer the stars began to fall from the sky — the boy Isaac discovered that he could tell East from West with his eyes closed." From Axis, by Robert Charles Wilson.
io9 does a great job analysing each of them; I recommend checking out the article.
Found via Westerblog.