Here's some that struck me.
The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel. —William Gibson, Neuromancer (1984)
Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu. —Ha Jin, Waiting (1999)
It was a pleasure to burn. —Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (1953)
He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad. —Raphael Sabatini, Scaramouche (1921)
All children, except one, grow up – J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan (1902).
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit (1937).
As I've only written a few manuscripts, I've learned from the Georgia Romance Writers that this is an opportunity to grab the reader by the fictional collar. If you can nab them at the first line then they'll keep reading.
I'm someone who admires a jaunty one liner and I've learned to carry them over into my writing. It doesn't matter if it's sexy enough to melt the ink on the page or funny enough to have you wanting a bathroom break, I try for it.
I learned with the first two books that were published that I opened with good scenes but they needed some lightening struck into them. So, upon talking to other authors, I saw that I wasn't putting some of my sense of wit into the first few pages. In hindsight, I was leading you by the hand as I coaxed you into liking my story. Now, I'm grabbing that same hand and just putting the words into your warm palms. I'm slamming it there for you to see that I'm worth your time.
So, in the learning curve that is my life, I redid the opening lines on those books and then ran a few exercises to come up with several lines that would yank me into awareness of a storyline. The results were eye opening. Some people may not get my wicked sense of humor but they got what I was portraying.
The next thing that I did was that when I came up with new plot ideas, I instantly wrote down one or two opening lines that fit the genre, voice, and suspense level of the idea. It carried through where I could then do a small paragraph that I used as a guideline for the tone of the book. It may not work that way for you guys but it helped widen the creative tunnel for me.
So Authors, do you open with a line or paragraph that has your mouths watering? Readers, do you want that first taste to be the bite that makes you fall in love with a writer?
I hope so.