Of course, some manage better than others. There is a special kind of talent in crafting an opening message that involves not just word choices, but a knack for prioritizing and a skill in evoking a feeling of originality. It isn’t easy.
Even more difficult, as every writer surely knows, is the challenge of packing all the originality and importance of that opening message before the first period. That is why we notice and remember when a writer succeeds in creating a fantastic first sentence. Sometime we can even recite them from memory.
Fantastic first sentences do not make a great book, to be sure. But they are worthy of special recognition and celebration nonetheless. This is particularly true in the case of children’s literature, where writers often have only a brief and fleeting moment to capture the attention yet a responsibility to do so without resorting to simplistic verbal fireworks.
This month on the blog is dedicated to celebrating great first sentences in writing for children and young adults. Fiction, non-fiction, or poetry—wherever a first sentence is worthy of recognition, I hope to note it eventually. Some first sentences I recognize will be classics; others will be from recently published works.
Please join in the discussion either by commenting on my selections or suggesting first sentences that you find notable.