I spend more time on my opening chapter than any other. So does Stephen King. Follow this link to an interesting article on Stephen King in The Atlantic on the months, even years, he spends on his opening chapters.
Here are some of my favourite novel openings. These really got my attention. I was hooked and had to read on. I’d love to hear about novel openings that grabbed you.
Michael Connelly, The Poet, “Death is my beat. I make my living from it. I forge my professional reputation on it. I treat it with the passion and precision of an undertaker … I’ve always thought the secret of dealing with death was to keep it at arm’s length. That’s my rule. Don’t let it breathe in your face. But my rule didn’t protect me.”
PD James,The Children of Men, “Early this morning, 1 January 2021, three minutes after midnight, the last human being to be born on earth was killed in a pub brawl in a suburb of Buenos Aires, aged twenty five years, two months and twelve days.”
John Le Carre, A Most Wanted Man, “A Turkish heavyweight boxing champion sauntering down a Hamburg street with his mother on his arm can scarcely be blamed for failing to notice that he is being shadowed by a skinny boy in a black coat.”
Michael Robotham, The Wreckage:
‘Have you killed?’
‘Were you scared?’
‘It’s not hard to take a life when a life has been taken from you. It is not about embracing revenge or nurturing hatred. And forget about taking an eye for an eye. Equality is for the weak and stupid. It’s about pulling the trigger … simple as that. One finger, one movement …’
‘Who was the first?’