First Lines in Novels and This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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As September winds down to the start up of October, so many things start to cram themselves into my head.  Where is the dancing skeleton dressed like a Venice dandy?  And the pumpkin headed schoolboys that talk?  But somehow, as I watch the leaves turn colors and fall, often brown because of the lack of rainfall, a line jumped into my head….”To wound the autumnal summer…”. An opening first line of a  science fiction story of the 90’s, that returns to me time and again even if the rest of the book doesn’t.  [Note: Can I find the book on my many shelves at the moment? No, I cannot.  It will be credited as soon as I can find the damn  book or someone can send me the title or my memory kicks in…which ever comes first.]

First lines are like that, good ones, bad ones, really good bad ones.  Standing there looking at the fall leaves swirl made that one pop back up and now, like a earworm, it will be stuck there all day.    I know I’ve had that happen with first lines from other books as well, from the sublime to the ridiculous. “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” Yep, that’s another one that has stayed with me along with the story’s imagery. Thank you, Daphne du Maurier and “Rebecca”. The first line has a huge job to do.  It has to hook the reader in, intrigue you, be memorable enough in its content or language to make you continue to read on…  And some do it unbelievably well.

How about these?  Can you place these to the author and novel? One of them even has a famous bad writing contest named after it and is often featured in a comics with a beagle.  Some might be easy, others a little obscure and pulled from my library (and favorite authors).

“It was a dark and stormy night…”

“Call me Ishmael.”.

“All children, except one, grew up.”

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

“All this happened, more or less.”

“It was a pleasure to burn.”

“It was love at first sight.”

“When I finally caught up with Abraham Trahearne, he was drinking beer with an alcoholic bulldog named Fireball Roberts in a ramshackle joint just outside of Sonoma, California, drinking the heart right out of a fine spring afternoon.”

“We were somewhere around Barstow at the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.”

[Answers below this week’s schedule.]

It got me thinking which the novels you’ve all recently read have had first lines that have stuck with you?  Any of skeleton reading booksthem?  Let me know if you can think of any novels you’ve read where the opening lines have made you sit up and take notice!  In the meantime, here is our upcoming schedule this week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.

 

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, September 27:

  •  First Lines in Novels and This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, September 28:

  • Cover Reveal for Jaye McKenna’s ‘Lethe Blade’
  • Return to Lake Lovelace with Rough Road by Vanessa North (contest)
  • Book Spotlight:  Raine O’Tierney & Debbie McGowan’s ‘Where the Grass Is Greener’ (excerpt and giveaway)
  • A Stella Review: Rough Road by Vanessa North
  • A PaulB Review: Betrothed by Therese Woodson

Tuesday, September 29:

  • Best Books of September 2015
  • A BJ Review:  Rattlesnake by Kim Fielding
  • A Stella Review: The Last Yeti by Tully Vincent
  • A  F.D. Review: Late Summer, Early Spring by Patricia Correll
  • A MelanieM Review: High Stakes (Four of Clubs 4) by Parker Williams

Wednesday, September 30:

  • Best Book Covers of September 2015
  • A Stella Audiobook Review: Just Desserts by Mary Calmes
  • A BJ Review: Chasing Death Metal Dreams by Kaje Harper
  • Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review : Model Citizen by Lissa Kasey
  • A MelanieM Review: Brimstone Owned and Operated by Angel Martinez

Thursday, October 1:

  • Natalie-Nicole Bates ‘Everything Anise’ book blast and giveaway
  • Book Spotlight: Annabelle Jacobs is Back with ‘The Altered 3‘ (excerpt and contest)
  • A Mika Review: Where Wishes Go by S.A. McAuley
  • A MelanieM Review: Flax’s Pursuit by Bellora Quinn and Angel Martinez
  • A Wynter Review: Kaminishi by Jan Suzukawa

Friday, October 2:

  • S.A. McAuley ‘Where Wishes Go‘ book blast and giveaway
  • A Solitary Man by Shira Anthony and Aisling Mancy Cover Reveal
  • AF Henley’s ‘Wolf, WY’ Book Release Guest Blog and Giveaway
  • A Stella Review: The Last Nights Of The Frangipani Hotel by Bey Deckard
  • A Sammy Review: The Ultimate Team by Tricia Owens
  • A MelanieM Review:  The Firebird and Other Stories by R Cooper

YA Saturday, October 3:

  • A Free Dreamer YA Review: This Book is Gay by James Dawson

 

 

Some Famous First Lines:

“Call me Ishmael.” —Herman Melville, Moby-Dick (1851)

“It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the house-tops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.” —Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” —Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.” –  C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)

“All children, except one, grow up”. -, J.M. Barrie. Peter Pan (1911)

“It was a pleasure to burn.” —Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (1953)

“All this happened, more or less”. —Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)

“It was love at first sight.” —Joseph Heller, Catch-22 (1961)

“When I finally caught up with Abraham Trahearne, he was drinking beer with an alcoholic bulldog named Fireball Roberts in a ramshackle joint just outside of Sonoma, California, drinking the heart right out of a fine spring afternoon.” – James Crumley, The Last Good Kiss (1978)

“We were somewhere around Barstow at the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.”- Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.