Throw Me A Line, Draw Me In...

You know when you pick-up a book, read through the opening chapter and precede to carry it around the bookstore whilst browsing other titles?  You really liked the opening lines, it had a voice, it spoke to you - and yet, you choose to ignore it, unceremoniously tossing it on the '3 for 2' bargain table, opting for another book instead.  Don't feel sorry for it because it actually wins out.  Several days later, those opening lines are still etched in your subconscious and your inner muse is shaking her head at you.  "Why the devil didn't you buy the book?!" she taunts, unsympathetically.  "Why didn't you make me?" you reply, tartly.  Wait...I'm having a conversation with myself?  

Of course, you can't remember the title but that line - it was something about nuns and why you will never see a photograph of a nun while she is alive because they only allow themselves to be photographed when they are dead.  Something to do with vanity. You see what happens when you ignore the muse?  It gets you in the end.  Desperate to find the book, I unashamedly googled "Dead Nuns + Photo + opening line of novels."  Yes, I did.   Alas, it turned up zilch on the Nun story but I did find 100 Best First Lines via i love english literature  and, The Best 100 Opening Lines From Books via  - do check them out.  Here's a few that may bring a smile to your face.  

"Where's Papa going with that axe?"  - Charlottes Web, E.B White.

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen.

"Mrs Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself" - Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Woolf

"Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins." Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

"I will not drink more than fourteen alcohol units per week" - Bridget Jones' Diary, Helen Felding.

"Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu" Waiting, Ha Jin.

"It was a dark and stormy night...."  Paul Clifford, Edward George Bulwer-Lytton  (sorry couldn't resist this one)

A/N:  Lesson learnt, I promise never to turn up my nose at memorable lines.  And if anyone knows of the book which fits my 'nuns +photo' google search criteria, please let me know - I'll be eternally grateful. * Deep sigh*   Talei xox



  1. I've walked out of the bookstore and left a book behind and then couldn't remember the title later.
    Loved the first lines.

  2. I have taken to taking pictures of books I'm interested in but aren't necessarily going to buy that day just in case. I don't know if I've ever even gone back to get them but at least I have a list of titles that I might want. It would be easier to find your book if you could remember a bit more... is it a mystery? romance?

    My writing has really been on the sidelines for the last 2 or 3 weeks. Time to buckle down! Hope you've been more productive than I have. Happy writing!!

  3. I can't help you with the nuns, but I so know that feeling! I always walk around with books at the bookstore that I discard or put back in their spots (I do try to put them back in their spots!) only to come back and buy them later. And oh my, I had forgotten that Charlotte's Web opening line, but that takes me back to when I was about eight years old and opened my mother's copy. I must re-read that book!

  4. Best of luck finding that book! It's too bad that awesome first lines like that are SO HARD to come up with. "Where's Papa going with that axe?" is definitely one of the best ever!

  5. Oh man! What a bite. Hope you find the book. (I even tried to find it but had no luck.)

  6. Susan, yup - definitely some great lines there!

    Danette, good point, my dear. It was a murder mystery of the historical sort, methinks. Hope you're writing furiously this week too!

    Meredith, isn't it a wonderful line? Funny, how fantastic it sounds now, years later after first reading it as a child.

    Peggy, *high fives * ditto!

    Bish, ha. It definitely bites. You're so sweet for looking too - thank you! I'm on a mission, will keep you posted. x

  7. Sorry I can't help with the nun. I've done the same thing with books, too, and kicked myself afterward. Good luck finding the book!

  8. There are some good first lines there, especially "fire of my loins" haha! Going back to check my opening line...

    Duncan In Kuantan

  9. Good first lines!

    Good luck finding the book!

  10. Aw, can't help you on the nun opening lines. Hope you stumble across it someday! A first line can definitely draw a person into a story. I recently changed mine to make it stronger, and I definitely like it better now! (Before, it was boring.)

  11. I look at a lot of books in bookstores. If I see a book with a good opening line, I will almost always buy it. I'm not going to pay too much though...

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