54 great opening lines: 54!!!

No eggs!  No eggs!!  Thousand thunders, man, what do you mean by no eggs?

Saint Joan, Bernard Shaw


My edition of this play has a 41-page preface written in 1924 by Ayot St Lawrence which also has a great first line:
“Joan of Arc, a village girl from the Vosges, was born about 1412;  burnt for heresy, witchcraft and sorcery in 1431;  rehabilitated after a fashion in 1456;  designated Venerable in 1904;  declared Blessed in 1908;  and finally canonized in 1920.”

What a great résumé.


Thank you to all of you who’ve read any of these 54 opening lines.  Perhaps you’ve been encouraged to write the first line of your own novel, poem or play.  As a bonus, I can’t help adding the line that many of us think of immediately when asked for a great opener:

It was a dark and stormy night;  the rain fell in torrents – except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.

Paul Clifford, Edward Bulwer-Lytton


Author: Trish

Literary translator, French to English. Family history amateur.

6 thoughts on “54 great opening lines: 54!!!”

  1. I like them and yours,, I started my Nano novel in April with ‘Once upon a time, many years ago, a beautiful young queen, by the name of Ninon, gave birth to her third child prince.’

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