First lines. Terrible ones can make you put a book down without reading any further. Good ones keep you reading. Great ones have you clicking "buy now" or walking to the register without having to read another word.
The best first lines tell you a something about the character, the situation, or the setting but most of all they intrigue you, reel you in, so that you cannot put that book down. Then they keep on delivering with the first paragraph, the first page, the first chapter.
As I'm pondering (aka procrastinating) starting my next story, I've been thinking a lot about first lines - both my own and in books I've read. Out of the four manuscripts I've written, my favorite first line (so far) comes from my third:
"Paige McAllister didn't think it was possible, but there was something worse than being single and thirty at your nineteen-year-old sister's wedding."
The first lines from a few of my favorite contemporary romances include:
"She never should have said yes." Beth Vogt, Wish You Were Here
"At least they couldn't fire her." Carla Laureano, Five Days in Skye
"The girl with the haunted eyes reentered his life on the other side of a lowering casket, humidity and the shrill song of cicadas tangling together in the South Carolina heat." Katie Ganshert, A Broken Kind of Beautiful
"Will you marry me?" Becky Wade, Meant To Be Mine
"She'd found bliss. Perhaps even true love." Rachel Hauck, Princess Ever After
So how about you? What are some of your favorite first lines? Either your own or from favorite books? I'm going to be giving away one of the five books I've listed above. Even if you don't have a favorite first line just leave your contact email and which title you'd like to win to be in the draw. Open to residents of any country that Book Depository delivers to :) Entries close Friday 15 August, midnight PDT.
* Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.
Represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary Inc, she loves writing romantic comedy and can be found on Facebook at Kara Isaac - Writer and on Twitter @KaraIsaac.