Ten Opening Sentences


Idea stolen from Tami and Bre.

The opening sentence is key to any story or novel. Tami and Bre have been talking about some of their favorite opening sentences, and I decided I would add my own.

“Who is John Galt?” – Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

I read this book between m senior year in High School and Freshmen year in college. It is an epic tale and showed me how powerfully a well done story could impact people. Atlas Shrugged started me on a journey that led me to eventually read everything Ayn Rand ever wrote.

“Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy.” – The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

I think for many people who choose to become lifelong readers there is a book that starts the love affair. For me, that book was The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I didn’t understand much of the symbolism the first time I read it as a 7th grader.  Okay, I really didn’t understand any of it, but I immediately identified with Edmund, and then wish I hadn’t. I couldn’t see myself as a Peter. Never when I was growing up did I ever picture myself in the leaders role. I always wanted to be Robin to someone else’s Batman. It made me pretty popular on the playground.

I wound up reading the entire series, and much like Ayn Rand, Lewis’ fiction led me to his non-fiction. If Rand was the guide on my journey away from God, Lewis was my guide on the journey home.

“”Captain Pellaeon?” a voice called down the portside crew pit through the hum of background conversation.” – Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn

I am a huge Star Wars fan.Timothy Zahn was given the task of continue the Star Wars saga in novel form. He had to stay true to the original, while breaking out into new territory. He had to take characters his readers knew so well like Han, Luke, and Leia and continue to grow their character. His three book trilogy was a huge success and launched the expanded universe of Star Wars.

“Tika Waylan straightened her back with a sigh, flexing her shoulders to ease her cramped muscles.” Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Dragonlance CHRONICLES VOLUME ONE  by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Knights riding dragons. I was hooked. The Dragonlance novels captured my imagination, and I devoured them. I remeber sneaking one of the Dragonlance Chronicles books into my Freshman physics class and reading it right until the lecture started. Weis and Hickman created this world that I kept wanting to return to. The charcters were vivid and memorable.

“He walked with the assurance of stature, and most others deferred to him subtly.” – Split Infinity, Piers Anthony

There’s that moment when the aspirant meets the work of a master. The first time an aspiring artist sees a Monet, or when a young basketball star watches clips of Michael Jordan, or when the aspiring sci-fi/fantasy author reads his first Piers Anthony. That was me starting to read Split Infinity. I read the entire Apprentice Adept series, and loved each one in turn. It was so hard not to write a story about Neysa for my unicorn story, but I didn’t feel like that would be a good idea.

“Dragon!” – Beyond the Moons by David Cook

And so opens the first book of the Cloakmaster Cycle set in the world of Spelljammer. The book is a largely a chase with main character Teldin Moore running for his life. In the process he goes on an incredible adventure that takes him far beyond his simple farm. It’s the story a simple man thrust, largely against his will, into the heroes role.

I was probably one of the few people who actually enjoyed the Spelljammer setting, and the books gave me a chance to revisit it long after TSR stopped supporting it. It was, much like Anthony’s work, a love for the blending of science fiction and fantasty that attracted me to Spelljammer. Later it would lead me to to RIFTS (not the MMO, the pen and paper game by Palladium).

“Rayford Steele’s mind was on a woman he had never touched” –Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins

I came to the Left Behind series a little bit later than most, but once  I started reading the books I was hooked. The more I read the more I cared about the characters. The premise captured my imagination. It’s a series that after you finish being completely engrossed by the story forces you to look at your beliefs and ask yourself what you really believe.

“I never liked jazz music because jazz music didn’t resolve.” – Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

I loved Blue Like Jazz. It was recommended to me by my friend Paul. Blue Like Jazz isn’t a novel, but it’s a collection of essays by Donald Miller. He is similar in many ways to Anne Lamott.  He provides a view on Christianity that is so unorthodox and yet completely orthodox at the same time. Many of his ideas resonated with me, as did his experience of walking away and then walking back to faith.

 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” – The Gospel according to John by John the Apostle

Again, not a novel, but John is my favorite book in the entire Bible. In fact, if you were only going to read one book in the Bible, my recommendation would be John. Each gospel gives a slightly different angle on Christ, and John concentrates on Christ’s ability to love.

Blantant Self Promotion

“King Jeho lovingly stroked his wife’s hair as he stood by her bed.” – Authenticity by Ted Atchley

Authenticity is the story I submitted to the first Saucy Ink Short Story collection.

“Lorrilyn’s heart pounded.” – Rebellion by Ted Atchley

Rebellion is the story I’m submitting to the second Saucy Ink Short Story collection. It’s not available yet, but I’ll let you know as soon as it is. Based upon what I’ve seen so far, it’s going to be a fantastic collection.

“David sat in the middle of his efficiency apartment and looked around for the last time.” – Dream Chaser by Ted Atchley

Dream Chaser is the novel I’m working on. Currently, I’m revising the first draft, but I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it after that. I will probably just table it for a while as it is a very long way from anything I would pursue publishing with.





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Note: This post is part of the 31-post Ultimate Blog Challenge. I will be posting 31 times during the month of July, 2012. Since that is a ton of content, I made a page on the blog where you can see all my entries.

Laurie Tom
Laurie Tom

I really enjoyed Spelljammer as well.  I don't think I've ever met someone else who's read them!


Oh man, someone else who loved Split Infinity! *high five* ADORED those books. The first three are still on my shelves.