The best first lines are like a long tall drink on a hot summer day -- they beg a chaser. “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”
Let the canned goods alphabetize themselves, says I; here’s a book that needs reading.
I put the Bible at the other end of the spectrum. “In the beginning God created heaven and earth.” That looks more like an end to me. Of course every author should know where he intends to go, but I suggest playing those cards closer to the vest. We know the deck is stacked, just don’t be too quick to tell us how.
Perhaps my religious education wouldn’t remain so sketchy if only the Bible started with, oh, maybe…
“Call me Noah.”
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife,” thought Eve.
Sure, the Bible is one of the all-time best-sellers, but that’s less impressive when you consider the number of salesmen.
Lewis Carroll says it best, “Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop."
And as I pound away at a work or two of my own, I've come up with a couple of axioms:
Don’t start reeling before you bait the hook.
Once you bait the hook, cast it before it starts to smell.