Scarlett Archer on first lines

1,001 First Lines is a collection of classic first lines, grouped by genre. I don’t always agree with the classifications used (I wouldn’t put Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland under comedy, for example), but that’s to be expected: I don’t think any two people are in complete agreement on genre boundaries. (Watch for my new blog series on Defining the Genres for more outspoken opinions on this.)

I noticed two things while reading through the accumulated openings. What I mostly noticed is that there is no one-size-fits-all, even in a given category. First lines can be short, long, filled with punctuation, or as plain as Dick and Jane. The second thing is that there are excellent openings to books I didn’t like (Bridge to Terabithia) and mundane openings to books I loved (Storm Front). Continue reading