15 Opening Lines for your next novel, by Rory McClenaghan

Want to write a timelessly brilliant novel but don’t know where to start? Fear not, friend, all you need is a devastating opening line. Once you’ve got that nailed things like character arcs, plot, and finding a publisher to pay you some money will all fall perfectly into place.

Start with one of these killer openings and you’ll have a best selling novel on your hands in no time. Good luck!

Elspeth exhaled deeply, her breath creating complex cloud formations in the cold air; cirrus, stratus, cumulonimbus.

The train pulled into Blackfriars as the sun was rising. I looked along the river and thought to myself: London, you beautiful whore.

It was high noon and low tide when Alan Middleton realised something was seriously wrong.

Coventry was a strange name for a penis but Derek was a strange guy.

The average number of corn flakes in a box is 21,345. Don’t ask me how I know this.

Terry awoke in a room he didn’t recognise, wearing a torso that belonged to somebody else.

The emotional shrapnel was buried deep; below skin, under cartilage, through veins, past bone, festering in the very core of her existence.

It was an indecisive spring, the kind that’s hard to dress for.

“You will never be clean.” Those are the first words I remember.

The year was 1783 and computers had not yet been invented.

Hendrick had always felt separated from his family, like an oxbow lake left behind by a meandering river. 

You can drown in only two inches of water, thought Agent Komishov as he lay semi-conscious in a flooded shell crater.

Tonya’s divorce confirmation arrived on a Wednesday, the same day the council came to collect the recycling. She saw this as a sign of a new start, of reincarnation even.

She followed the footsteps through the pristine white snow. They were size nine, maybe nine-and-a-half.

“It’s just like the final days on Earth,” said Professor Excelsior. His students looked at him blankly, had it really been that long?

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