Language is the foundation of many of the Arts. To instruct, to classify, to share your Art you must understand and communicate with words. Then, of course, command of the language is essential to mastering the craft of reading and writing.
Everyone has their “own” version of their language. There is slang, dialect, style, and dozens of other ways that writers turn language into something powerful and creative.
When I first started writing I had a more stylized repertoire of words and phrases in my head that I could call on to write copy. But as time went on I realized I was not a “formalized“ writer. My style is more relaxed and personal, like I’m sitting across the table talking to you.
Our favorite authors are chosen based on their ability to be creative with their words. Lately I have been dipping into H.P. Lovecraft from the early 1900s, an American writer whose style is more Gothic, like Edgar Allan Poe and Mary Shelley.
Sometimes an opening passage really sets the tone. Here is the beginning of his famous work, The Call of Cthulhu:
The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.
His use of the language of the times is crisp and graceful. At least to me.
Which leads me to the point of this blog.
Whose writing style do you enjoy reading? Share their name and, if your time permits, the opening sentence from your favorite book. I realize if you love to read, you embrace many styles for your many moods, but maybe there is a sentence or opening passage that just rings your bell.
I’d love to see what styles appeal to you, my friends in the blogging world.
8 thoughts on “Your Favorite Opening Sentence”
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Thank you, Chris
A great conversation starter… I’ll have to think about that, very hard to choose a favourite.
That’s not bad!
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I read it for book club. It’s so good…the language is wonderful, and the story is spot on. Though I totally heard Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompsons voices in my head as I read it…
That is very atmospheric. I have seen the movie but not read the book. Since you said its one of the best books you’ve read this year, I think I shall put it on my list, too!💜
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This is tonight because I’m a mood reader….I like different genres and styles for different moods….but, one of the best things I read this year was Remains of the Day, so I’ll give you that first line…”it seems increasingly likely that I really will undertake the expedition that has been preoccupying my imagination now for some days.”
I love that line. It has been forever since I’ve read that book. The TV series is more recent. But I think I’m due to read another classic. Thank you for sharing!
I have long been an admirer of the writing of Jane Austen and love this famous opening line, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Pride and Prejudice. In fact, I have it in needlepoint hanging in my bedroom.