In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.
Winston Smith opened the door to Victory Mansions and lit a woodbine or something.
Whatever. It doesn’t matter. The point is, these are all the first lines from books.
Not the best of starts I think you’ll agree and personally I think those books would have been better if they’d grabbed you right away instead of making you work for your enjoyment.
Lets consider the opening line from another piece. This one really gets you going - right from the off.
Fatmammycat gunned the Maserati round the cobbles in an ecstasy of squeals.
That line’s got everything. It’s exciting, glamorous, cool. There’s a top notch dolly bird in a branded sports car driving too fast for the road conditions pertaining at the time. What more do you want? As a first line, it’s a tipper. A belter in fact.
For example, it’s much better than this line, isn‘t it not?
“Mr Jones the cannibal came home and ate someone’s leg.”
I mean that line’s got nothing. Nyente. Nada.
I bet no-one outside their immediate family has bought that rednose book.
Oh, and if any of you writes a book that starts “Mr Jones the cannibal came home and ate someone’s leg.”, I’ll fucking sue.