What’s the best opening line you ever heard? For me it was in New Orleans. I was standing at a stoplight in the French Quarter with two girlfriends when a young man weaved his way in our direction. He was probably ten years too young for me, daddy-long-leg proportions, sporting baggy pants with a good five inches of underwear sticking out the top. A dozen or more strands of oversized beads hung around his neck.
The guy stopped, turned and favored me with a once-over so comic it was like a scene from Roger Rabbit. I waited for what he might say only because the whole venture seemed so improbable. I was not disappointed.
“If I be yo bread, will you be my buttah?”
I was speechless, not just at the words but at his vast, swaggering optimism. As if nerdish professional tourist moms often jumped at the opportunity to bed underweight hip-hop wannabes who lived in their cars.
I never found out what else he had to say. My friend grabbed my elbow and steered me across the street, perhaps concerned that I was considering the proposition, which of course, I wasn’t.
But my point is, he had my attention. I couldn’t wait to see what he was going to say next. There I was, head cocked to the side like a dog hearing a high-pitched sound, jaw gaping. I wasn’t going anywhere; this was going to be good.
And so it is, or should be, with your opening line for your book. That is my challenge for the day – for myself – and you too, if you’re up for it: write one hundred opening lines. Heck, you can write one or a hundred, but if you’re game, post your favorite in the comments.
Something brilliant is bound to turn up, right? Maybe not as good as “If I be yo bread will you be my buttah” but you never know.