What Would Be the Opening Line of a Novel That Would Hook You from the Start?

(Image: Fred Studart)

At Ask Reddit (my favorite subreddit) movienevermade asks:

If you wanted to write the beginning of a book that hooked you from the very start, what would be the first line?

There were several excellent responses, many of which inspired other redditors to begin writing immediately. Here's an opening line by WittyCommenterName:

I'm dead. Not that I want sympathy, I just don't want you to be surprised later.

Many contributors went along on horror themes. Here's one by run_dmt:

Everyone told me I couldn't kill him; I see now that all they really meant was "shouldn't".

There were science fiction ideas, such as this gem by GuaranteedWeirdo:

After eons spent watching humans, I already knew that the most exhilarating and terrifying moment of my tenure would be when one started watching back.

Kronzlar offered this glimpse from a terrifying future:

It's hard being the only person in the world that can't read thoughts.

Ruthi suggested the first line for a hard boiled noir story:

I had two shots in me; one bourbon, one lead.

You can read the entire thread here.


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One of the best opening lines I've ever seen, from an article written in the Denver Post years ago:
'Daisy McAllister was a large, boisterous African-American woman whose smile revealed a tender heart and tendency to chew tobacco.'

When I finished reading the article (which was excellent reading), I realized he had my attention from the first sentence, and I'm rarely aware of paying much attention to the opening line, but that was an immediate attention grabber.
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The "bourbon/lead" shots line is a stone cold ripoff of a line from Calvin & Hobbes from one of Calvin's "Tracer Bullet" private eye fantasy strips....
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