Best opening sentence quiz
Never open a book with weather.– Elmore Leonard
The best openings begin with a character and take the reader captive almost immediately. My examples come from children’s books, the very best being the opening of Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White which deftly introduces character, setting, and tension to grab the imagination.
“Where’s Papa going with that axe?’ said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.
“Out to the hoghouse…”
Match these classic opening sentences with the titles below.
1. All children, except one, grow up.
2. There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.
3.The Iron Man came to the top of the cliff.
4. Here I am, Ralph William Mountfield, banished to my bedroom on Christmas Day.
5. Keith the boy in the rumpled shorts and shirt, did not know he was being watched as he entered Room 215 of the Mountain View Inn.
6. My father is put in the stocks again! Oh! the injustice of it!
7. When Old Tip lost his bark, Uncle Trev had to teach his horse to bark and chase the cows up to the shed for milking.
8. It’s a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful.
Titles: The Iron Man, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Devil-in-the-Fog, Matilda, The More the Merrier, Uncle Trev, Peter Pan
Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on … that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.– Kurt Vonnegut