My first writing assignment for my nonfiction class has kept me busy today. No significant progress was made, but ideas are stirring for sure. A chapter in one of the assigned books for the class discussed how we go about starting a piece of writing. An often daunting task is only seemingly so as we don’t recognize that the beginning lines of our work that is submitted in a final draft is very rarely the initial lines we come up with as we sit down to write. I was assigned the task of going to a library or book store to read just the first sentences of twenty books of many different genres and topics. I ventured downtown to Recycled Books earlier this week and did this exercise, jotting down a few of my favorites. Similar to meeting someone for the first time, a piece of writing and the writer makes a first impression with that initial sentence. Many, I found, were very lengthy. So much to say in those first moments, I agree.
So, I dare you to go to your bookshelf (or stack of books piled on your desk, like in my dorm) and open up a few of your favorites. Evaluate what initial impression the writer and writing left you, whether you were aware of it or not as you continued reading. Share your favorites, if you’d like.
Also, make me smile and identify this opening sentence from one of my all time favorites.