Some people say that the first line of a book, movie, play, essay or e-mail is the most important one.
It sets the tone for the rest of a story. But most important, it magically compels the reader to read the next sentence. And then the next. And then…
I am a “setting” writer. I try to begin every story by describing a scene or a mood. That’s sometimes hard to do, but I believe it’s critical. Let’s look at a few classic first sentences from famous books.
“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” — 1984 by George Orwell
“I am an invisible man.” — Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Each sentence offers few words, but those words immediately create a picture in our minds. We want that picture to come into better focus, and that’s what makes us continue to read.
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