The First Line Test

When all else fails, I judge a novel by its first line. A mediocre first sentence may lead to a good read, a bad one rarely, and a perfect first line requires tension, detail, and wit that bodes well for the rest of the story.

Check out John Sutherland’s take on some classic first lines, as well as the Bulwar-Lytton Prize for worst first sentences to imaginary novels. Why not email them an entry yourself?

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