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First lines are important. They aren’t necessarily the first impression–no, the cover of the book is the first impression. But they are the second impression, which I’d say is more important. The first impression is when you meet up for a blind date and you first see the person and think “damn, they are attractive.” The second impression is when they open their mouth. It can make or break a date, depending on what’s said.

Anyway, as readers, I’m sure we all know the importance of first lines.

And with that, I’d like to present to you one of my favorite first lines:

There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife

The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman

What makes this a great first line? Well, firstly, it has a sort of poetic artistry to it that is something I always appreciate. Secondly, and more importantly, it has suspense. It promises action. Who is holding the knife? What are they going to do with it? What have they already done with it? When your creative writing teacher says to start your story in the middle of action, this is what they mean.

Now, I’d like to open it up to you. What are some if your favorite first lines?