Everyone has a favorite opening line. This week I'm writing about my favorite and giving away a copy of the excellent new book, Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver and Kei Acedera. Read on to find out how to share your favorite first line and why and you could win it!
As I thought about this it's really not right to say that I have one favorite opener in all of YA. I have dozens. They're each unique and mean different things, so they're impossible to compare. This week I chose one of my favorites: the first line of Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle. The narrator, Cassandra Mortmain, has started to keep a diary and she’s writing in the kitchen sink of the decaying castle that her family owns.
There are a few reasons why I like this so much.
First, there's the absurdity of writing in the sink. People don’t generally write in the sink, they write in chairs. It tells me that the narrator is unconventional
Second, the reason why Cassandra is writing in the sink – when she explains it, you learn a lot about her including the fact that she wants to be a writer, how her house looks and smells (it is in ruins) and the size of her family and where they are. It’s a great place to start exposition from and often, when I’m trying to place a character, I think of Cassandra in the center of the house, writing in the sink.
Third it gives you a good idea of the type of humor the author used. It’s funny it sets your expectations.