I survived my Monday, how did you fare? Let me tell you a little of my day, starting with Sunday, weather-wise. Sunday, we had temperatures in the low 80’s. It was a nice and comfortable day. By the time I left the house for work on Monday, temperatures were in the high 20’s, a little over a fifty degree swing. Nothing like the schizophrenic nature of April weather!
Other than the light snow, the day was uneventful. I spent a considerable amount of time on the road thinking about opening lines. It started when I remembered one of Ron White’s jokes, “I was sitting on a bean bag chair, naked, eating Cheetos…” That has to be one of my favorite opening lines for a joke. You can check it out on YouTube.
The way Ron White delivers the line is magic. It’s as if it were normal for everyone to be sitting naked on a bean bag chair. It’s casual and easily sets up the ludicrous premise that is the rest of the joke. It’s all about setting up the tone.
Opening lines are a tricky beasts, if you ask me. There are plenty of famous opening lines in literature, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” – or – “Call me Ishmael,” – or how about – “It was a dark and stormy night.” Actually the last one is my favorite. It’s entered the collective consciousness as a bad opening line, which was in fact written by Edward Bulwer-Lytton for his novel Paul Clifford, though I mostly remember it used by Charles Schulz’s character, Snoopy. Actually, I need to add Paul Clifford to my list of Books I need to read, but probably never will.
The power of opening lines is not lost on men trying to score with women. That’s how we have classics such as “You come here often,” – and – “Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?” – and my favorite – “Haaave you met Ted?” I keep it simple when meeting people with “Hey.”
In real life, as in books, that first line can make or break your chance of continuing and growing a relationship. I know it’s a lot of pressure, and maybe I’m making too big a deal of it, but that first line is a killer for me. All I can do is write it and continue on. I may go back and tweak the line once I’m into the book, but probably not.
I was looking at some of my opening sentences of my pieces that I will someday actually sit down and finish. I’ve decided to let you take a look at the glory that is my madness.
- Paul Cardinal Dawson sat in his office drinking his black coffee, fuming silently. – Son of the Father.
- “Do me a favor Luke, and get me my lighter.” – Self Reborn.
- “Sheba! Time to go outside!” – Unseen Obsession.
- This was to be a reunion, years in the making. – Lily.
- I must say, I never thought I would ever write down my life’s story, and never in such a public forum, but yet I’ve decided to embrace this odd medium and so here I am. – Peccadilloes.
I don’t know, I’m probably stressing about nothing, but that’s what I do. I should probably let it go and stop worrying about something so inconsequential. It’s only one line, after all. But just to play Devil’s Advocate, here are a few more opening lines, from real life, to show you how important they can be.
- “Do you know why I pulled you over?”
- “We need to talk.”
- “Joe, come to the office.”
- “You have the right to remain silent.” (Hasn’t happened to me, yet.)
I like that second set of opening lines that come from real life. They definitely bring the reader in fast because we’ve all heard those either in person or on TV. So we already have a dozen ideas racing through our imaginations and become eager to see where the writer is going to take us.
I like the last part of this blog. It’s really funny. “Joe, come to my office.” This has actually happened to me except it was ” Miss Sanchez,Can I see you in my office?”