It is difficult to say what makes a good first line, since I suspect the answer is that it is followed by a good book. So this exercise was, first, one of readerly appreciation (and a very enjoyable and soothing one — I highly recommend it).
But I think (or hope) the closer you read something the more the patterns of it get into your bones and thoughts.
So here I was breaking down some of my favourite first lines to see what I liked about them.
It looks complicated, but that’s because it’s crowded. The process itself (adapted from a style analysis exercise in a grammar course I used to tutor) was simple:Continue reading