10 of the best first lines from novels

Jane Austen and J.D. Salinger are on the list; Lauren Conrad is not.

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Whether it’s a novel or a blog post, the first sentence should be so intriguing that your audience can’t help but move on to the next sentence, and the next, and the next, and so on.

It’s a necessity, because your audience’s attention span is 140 characters (at best).

Centuries ago, writers competed against gladiators and minstrels for the attentions of entertainment seekers. In the 20th century, they squared off against TV and radio.

Now, you’re competing with tweets from the world’s funniest comedians, short videos from talented filmmakers, and blog posts penned by famous authors—plus TV, radio, Hollywood, minstrels (I guess), and gladiators athletes.

Bottom line: You’ve got to hook ’em fast.

For some inspiration—or to make yourself feel bad because these are so good—here are 10 of the best opening lines from novels, via the American Book Review, which lists the 100 best.

1. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” —Jane Austen, “Pride and Prejudice” (1813)

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