Our Ragtag Daily Prompt yesterday was ANTICIPATION. Also, I was listening to a talk by a published author which was all about building a reader’s anticipation. She was giving examples of writers who used their opening lines — and for sure the opening paragraphs — to grab readers and hold their attention.
George Orwell’s opening line about the clocks striking thirteen usually comes up in talks of this kind. People also quote Dickens’ stunner: It was the best of times and the worst of times. Snoopy’s “It was a dark and stormy night…” has been done in several variations.
Just for fun and practice, I’ll try my hand at opening lines that grab a reader’s attention — and today’s Ragtag prompt is SHADOWS, a word with lots of “opening hook” potential.
- Slipping into a deeper shadow, he watched her as she approached her car, wondering how many seconds it would take him to do what he needed to do. She was still oblivious — that would help.
- Mandy sat on her porch, watching the sunset glow gild the valley, and wondered for the zillionth time if he’d come back before those pines over at Rest Haven shadowed her grave.
- The passing white clouds cast their shadows onto the scorched prairie. The farmer shook the dust off his hat and wiped his brow. Yes, a bit of shade, but nothing else. Eight weeks and not a drop.
- Why on earth was that girl hanging back, staying in the shadow by the stairs, not joining in the fun? Then I remembered: she’s the one whose brother disappeared last week.
- Darmond stopped and turned in time to see a shadow slip behind the scrubby trees. No, he wasn’t imagining it; something was stalking him.
- “A shadow? That’s all? And what makes you suspect, Mrs Pickford, that there’s a notorious criminal hiding in your woods if all you saw was a shadow of “something” — which could easily have been a deer?”
Now, which opening lines would make you want to keep reading?