First lines

A question has arrived, and it's a very good one.

How do I write the first line of a book?

It's one of those lovely questions which sounds simple, but is in fact very tricky. 

I'm a sucker for first lines.  They're so important and can be so memorable.  Whether it's the best of times or the worst of times, bright cold days on which the clocks strike thirteen, or just an invitation to call me Ishmael, they can stick in the mind always and lure you into a book.

So, to answer the question - I spend lots of time on first lines, but don't get bogged down by them.  I write one which feels appropriate, but then move on and try to write the rest of the book.  However, as I'm going along, and particularly when I review how the novel is going, I'll often think about the first line and whether it can be improved.  It almost always can.

I'll commonly think about it at other times too, like when I'm having a run or driving.  At a rough estimate, I'd say my first lines usually change around ten times in the course of drafting a book. 

If you've got a question, you're very welcome to ask and I'll try to answer it - you can get in touch via the contacts page of the site -