Alan H Jordan's picture
Alan H Jordan from Reno, Nevada is reading "The Whisper Jar" and "The World Beneath" November 17, 2013 - 8:08am

Let's paste in first paragraphs that reach out and demand your attention.  I'll start:

 

I SOMETIMES FEEL like my own little world is encased in a souvenir snow globe, the kind you shake so you can watch fat white flakes swirl around a miniature Eiffel Tower. Every now and then—far too often, I feel—fate has taken my globe in its unfeeling fingers and given it a cruel, vigorous shake, unleashing a merciless blizzard that left me snow-blind, dazed, barely able to breathe. It’s happened to me three times in my thirty-six years, and each time it happened I knew nothing would ever be the same again. The first time, it was an empty fried chicken bucket. It killed my parents. Tragically absurd, I know. I’ll explain that later. The second time, it was a telephone call—and I wasn’t even a participant in the call. Nonetheless, that call—to someone else, from someone else—dramatically altered the course of my life. I’ll explain that later, too. The third time, though, the third time fate let winter’s mad fury loose in my world started with two little words. Those words, just three syllables all told, left me as cold and confused as I’d ever been. And again, my life was forever changed. 

Brothers and Bones by James Hankins

 

Alan H Jordan's picture
Alan H Jordan from Reno, Nevada is reading "The Whisper Jar" and "The World Beneath" November 30, 2013 - 1:15am

From The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly

Monday, March 7
     The morning air off the Mojave in late winter is as clean and crisp as you’ll ever breathe in Los Angeles County. It carries the taste of promise on it. When it starts blowing in like that I like to keep a window open in my office. There are a few people who know this routine of mine, people like Fernando Valenzuela. The bondsman, not the baseball pitcher. He called me as I was coming into Lancaster for a 9 o’clock calendar call. He must have heard the wind whistling in my cell phone.

MattF's picture
MattF from Tokyo is reading Borges' Collected Fictions November 30, 2013 - 7:19pm

A salesman who shared his liquor and steered while sleeping... A Cherokee filled with bourbon... A VW no more than a bubble of hashish fumes, captained by a college student...

     And a family from Marshalltown who headonned and killed forever a man driving west out of Bethany, Missouri...

 

from Denis Johnson's "Car Crash While Hitchhiking"

Alan H Jordan's picture
Alan H Jordan from Reno, Nevada is reading "The Whisper Jar" and "The World Beneath" December 14, 2013 - 1:27am

How about a change of rules?  

Let's say why we like the paragraph. From Michael Connelly's The Gods of Guilt.

I like this because it sets up character-based conflict;

I approached the witness stand with a warm and welcoming smile. This, of course, belied my true intent, which was to destroy the woman who sat there with her eyes fixed on me. Claire Welton had just identified my client as the man who had forced her out of her Mercedes E60 at gunpoint on Christmas Eve last year. She said he was the one who then shoved her to the ground before taking off with the car, her purse, and all the shopping bags she had loaded into the backseat at the mall. As she had just told the prosecutor who questioned her, he had also made off with her sense of security and self-confidence, even though for these more personal thefts he had not been charged

 

Dogmeat42's picture
Dogmeat42 from Long Island, NY is reading House of Leaves December 17, 2013 - 11:27am

This is from Stephen King's "The Dark Tower."  I like it because it is very short and simple, yet draws the reader right into the story. 

 

"The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."

SConley's picture
SConley from Texas is reading Coin Locker Babies December 17, 2013 - 12:07pm

"They sent him to Dallas to kill a nigger pimp named Wendell Durfee. He wasn't sure he could do it."

The first James Ellroy line i'd ever read (from The Cold Six Thousand) and i was hooked.

Utah's picture
Moderator
Utah from Fort Worth, TX is reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry December 18, 2013 - 3:10pm

That line nailed me, too.  Fantastic book.

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel December 20, 2013 - 7:31pm

"An Ivory Heart. It's just your heart, but to the collector, it’s priceless…that is, once they remove it."

Alan H Jordan's picture
Alan H Jordan from Reno, Nevada is reading "The Whisper Jar" and "The World Beneath" December 21, 2013 - 7:41pm

@Jose: That's an interesting quote. Source? Why did you select it?

@SConnelly & Utah: Think I'll read it.

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel December 21, 2013 - 10:19pm

I wrote it. I forget what made me write it, but I thought it was cool. 

Alan H Jordan's picture
Alan H Jordan from Reno, Nevada is reading "The Whisper Jar" and "The World Beneath" December 22, 2013 - 10:07am

This opening paragraph is from a workshopped piece named The Midnight Climber by Chacron.

When I can't sleep, I climb.

It's an elegant first sentence that develops character and whets my story appetite.
 

@Jose.  I like it.