first lines meme, novels edition

You know how I recently mentioned that my mental queue of Books I Could Write includes twenty-two entries in six series? It’s more than that, really, when you count the standalones and the things I’ve already written but haven’t sold and son on. Rather than do a first lines meme for short stories (which are kind of guilting me right now), I thought it might be fun to tally up all the openings for the novels. Note that most of these are currently laboring under working titles, and for shits and giggles I’ll include some I think are dead in the water.

Lies and Prophecy

Linwood Hall was a lovely building — one of the nicest on Welton’s campus — but I had no chance to appreciate it as I flung the double doors open and ran up the central staircase.


On Tuesday morning Henry Welton woke up insane.

[Yes, this is connected to the above. But separated by several generations.]

The Sorcerers of Kyoto

Mara leaned forward to gape through the front window of the rental car. “I thought you said this was a house.”

Behind the Shadows
[No opening line, but I can quote you the line that sent the idea springing full-figure into my head:]

Centuries ago, a prophecy was spoken, that one day a hero would be born, the last descendent of a forgotten royal line, to overthrow the forces of the Midnight Queen and thereafter reign as king.
Some people weren’t inclined to wait.

Holy Vows

Sweat coated Sola’s face, soaked all through her hair, threatened to overrun the protecting line of her brows and sting her eyes.

The Changing Sea

The ship’s serrated prow cut a clean line through the shifting, hypnotic waters of the Changing Sea.

A Natural History of Dragons

Not a day goes by that the post does not bring me at least one letter from a young person (or sometimes one not so young) who wishes to follow in my footsteps and become a dragon naturalist.

The Lieutenant’s Tale

Salt spray peppered my face as I paced back and forth along the flat granite slab the locals called the Widow’s Walk.


The skies were clear and the winds fair for Plymouth, the Hesperides flying before them like a swan, her wings unfurled from the yardarms and belling out full.

depending on where the story starts. (The latter is more likely.)

The Mother of the End

Word came to the temple of Harina-Madhul-Sri on the first truly warm day that spring.

Not So Perfect

I am not the Bitch Queen of Candleton High.

The Waking of Angantyr

Dead men had whispered to her in her sleep for so long that she had almost gotten used to it.

Sunlight and Storm

Had Sarah Whitby merely died, it would not have caused such a fuss.

The Vengeance of Trees

“You ran from me once. That summer day, at your uncle’s manor, we each took steps that led us away from here, did things which should have made today impossible. But you were a mere girl then, and I a stripling boy, and a fool at that. I ask you now to put that memory behind you, to — line!”
“To stay the feet that –”
“To stay the feet that would flee again!”

the book that is not allowed to be called The Book of Kells

I don’t even know why it’s so important.

untitled book based on a horrible dream I once had

The dark car cruises along the deserted streets, and there is darkness both inside and outside.

dragons book I probably won’t ever write

The grey clouds were lowering threateningly over the walls of the keep as the dragon backwinged to land in the broad courtyard.

The Kestori Hawks (trunked)

In his world, pain was routine.

Plus The Iron Rose, which doesn’t have an opening line, because I’ve never gotten around to writing any of it.

And, just to tease you all, the opening paragraph of With Fate Conspire:

The lights hovered in mid-air, like a cloud of unearthly fireflies. The corners of the room lay in shadow; all illumination had drawn inward, to this spot before the empty hearth, and the woman who stood there in silence.

0 Responses to “first lines meme, novels edition”

  1. sartorias

    Some of these are lovely, but I confess the one that instantly grabbed me was that first line of Not So Perfect. Heh!

  2. jehane_writes

    All of these sound fascinating, especially “–line?”

    • Marie Brennan

      That one centers on a theatre troupe, and the guy speaking at the beginning is a former start who’s starting to have trouble remembering his lines. 🙂

  3. Marie Brennan

    Hopefully I’ll know soon!

  4. teleidoplex

    It’s rather telling that I know the bones of most of these already. I’m still rooting for Behind the Shadows, though… it needs a better title 😛

    Just please, god, don’t let it turn out to be another SotS.

  5. starlady38

    All of these sound awesome, but I like The Sorcerers of Kyoto, Sola, and Behind the Shadows best, because I suspect I know or can guess the backgrounds of those. 🙂

  6. stevie_carroll

    That’s an impressive list with some intriguing openings.

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