The Best Opening Line Stephen King Ever Wrote
First lines are tricky - and they can also be very personal. An opening line that hooks one person may not work on the next. Often the best ones look really simple. But they aren’t. Just ask Stephen King. In an article for The Atlantic, he picked out two pieces of his writing he was particularly proud of—and realised they were both opening lines. This is his favorite:
The best first line I ever wrote is the opening of 'Needful Things.' Printed by itself on a page in 20-point type:
"You've been here before."
All there by itself on one page, inviting the reader to keep reading. It suggests a familiar story.
Paying tribute to the writing of authors Douglas Fairbairn (Shoot) and James M. Cain (The Postman Always Rings Twice), King also admitted to lying in bed and writing and re-writing those opening words until he was happy he could do the book—to the extent he can remember the exact opening phrases from his books decades after he first penned them. King’s also giving out writing advice, as he does, and I have to agree with what he says, particularly when you’re trying to get someone to read what you’ve written.
But there's one thing I'm sure about. An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story. It should say: Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this.
Absolutely. What’s your favorite first line? Mine’s from Neuromancer by William Gibson ‘“The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.”
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