Last year on Mondays we had fun with books. This year, we'll look at most of the same books but also some new ones, and see if the first line [or first paragraph] met the goal of a first line which is ==> to hook the reader's attention.
Here are some tips on writing a first line
Week 7 – The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
First published: March through July 1844 as a serial novel in a Parisian newspaper
Here's what the story is about: A historical novel set in France in 1625-1628. It recounts the adventures of d'Artagnan (a character based on Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan) when he travels to Paris, hoping to join the Musketeers. He is befriended by Athos, Porthos, and Aramis [the three musketeers] and joins them in various adventures.
On the first Monday of the month of April, 1625, the market town of Meung, in which the author of Romance of the Rose was born, appeared to be in as perfect a state of revolution as if the Huguenots had just made a second La Rochelle of it. Many citizens, seeing the women flying toward the High Street, leaving their children crying at the open doors, hastened to don the cuirass, and supporting their somewhat uncertain courage with a musket or a partisan, directed their steps toward the hostelry of the Jolly Miller, before which was gathered, increasing every minute, a compact group, vociferous and full of curiosity.
This story starts with introduction of the setting [time and place], and describes the place as “in a perfect state of revolution”, which also begins the plot. There are several historical details which presumably would have been known by the readers. We also have the POV [omniscient]. Based on this information, we can form a preliminary guess of what will happen in the story, but we don't know any of the characters or what they may be like. The story starts more “in media res” than many stories of the time.
The second paragraph gives more historical information about the referenced revolution. It's not until the third paragraph that we are introduced to the main character, D’Artagnan, who is compared to Don Quixote.
Does this first line/paragraph hook your attention? If you had never heard of this story, would you buy this story in 2024? Knowing the story, would you change the first line? Tell us in the comments!