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AlbertJayNock

Writer's Block: Awesome Openers

What are some gripping opening lines from films or books, and why do you think they work so well?
Here are three opening lines  I still remember from books I last read many years ago:

  1. "Years later, as he stood before the firing squad, Colonel Aureliono Buendias remembered the distant day when his grandfather took him to discover ice" -From Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years Of Solitude
  2. "Once upon a time, there was a martian named Michael Valentine Smith"-From Robert Heinlein's Stranger In A Strange Land
  3. "They threw me off the hay truck around noon" - From James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice


It's pretty easy to figure out that they work. I still remember them years after I read the book. Why they're effective is a tougher nut to crack. But I'll give it a shot.

  1. Who is this Buendias guy? Why is he in front of a firing squad? Took him to discover ice? What's up with that? This is a sentence with a lot of backstory, and you read on in hopes of getting it.
  2.  Stories that start off with "once upon a time" generally involve elves or witches but hardly ever Martians. You know you've started reading a fable of some sort, but it's a fable with a twist. Your curiosity is piqued.
  3. This fella is clearly up to no good. You read on to find out exactly what kind of no good he is up to. Hopefully salacious details will be provided.

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