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Chapter One (and Two and Three) by Shana Galen

I love starting a new book. I know a lot of writers struggle with novel beginnings, but I usually find the first three chapters the most fun and the easiest to write. There's something so exhilarating about beginning a new book. The story is fresh, the characters are new and undiscovered, and the adventure is just commencing. It's not always easy to get that first sentence or first paragraph right, though. Sometimes at the end of a book, I go back and write the first few pages again.

I'm sure everyone has their favorite first lines. Here are a few of mine.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.
Pride and Prejudice--Jane Austen

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so much like the present period that some of its nosiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. A Tale of Two Cities--Charles Dickens

Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.
Gone With the Wind--Margaret Mitchell

I have a few favorite lines from my own books as well.

The spy called Saint hunkered down in the wardrobe she'd occupied for the last four hours and attempted to stifle a yawn. Lord and Lady Spy

Eleven-year-old Armand Harcourt, the comte de Valere, should have been asleep. The Making of a Gentleman

Lady Madeleine was going to make the best of this night, even if it killed her. And it probably would kill her. Blackthorne's Bride

And I wanted to share the first line from my next book, The Rogue Pirate's Bride, which will be out February 7.

"That's him," Percy whispered. "I'm almost certain of it."

I don't think I'm spoiling anything if I tell you the him is our hero, Bastien. I also don't think I'll spoil anything if I tell you Percy is speaking to our heroine, Raeven, who is in a tavern in Brest, France in order to challenge our hero to a sword fight.

So much potential and fun! That's why I love beginning a new novel. What about you? Do you have any favorite first lines from others' or your own books?


  1. I love your covers, Shana! Have to run to work so no time to look up favorite quotes, but super blog! :)

  2. Thanks, Terry, and hugs on working on a Saturday.

  3. "Being dead didn't make Jack Mercy less a son-of-a-bitch." (Montana Sky, Nora Roberts)
    That line taught me the importance of a strong punch right at the first. Love your first lines...they'll draw the readers right into your fabulous books.

  4. Carolyn, Nora Roberts is one of my favorite authors. Great first line! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Good morning Shana,

    I don't have favorite first lines, but I know that the beginnings are always the hardest, no matter if you write a novel or if it is a seminar paper. It just drives me crazy

  6. "Bad things always happen during the night." Ransom by Julie Garwood. LOVE that book!

    Hi Shana! Enjoyed the blog immensly. Your first lines are fabulous! Can't wait for your new release. I adored Armand and Felicity's story. My son has a speech disorder, so I appreciated Felicity's methods and motivations to help Armand.

  7. Danny, I so agree. The great thing about a novel is that you can always go back and change the first lines because you are writing it for such a long time. not so with a term paper. But the interesting thing, for me, is that very often the line I choose to begin a novel is the one I keep.

  8. Sarah, you must know Julie Garwood is one of my favorite authors. I love everything she's written. Great choice.

    Thank you so much for your comment about The Making of a Gentleman.It was a really hard book to write, and Armand was a difficult character. But I felt like I learned a lot while writing it.

  9. He needed a woman bad.(Mackenzie's Mountain by Linda Howard)

  10. "Oh good, you gave yourself money." SOMETHING WONDERFUL by Judith McNaught ...okay that was later in the book, but still has me laughing.

    "What a beautiful cock!" THE PIRATE AND THE PAGAN by Virginia Henley. (the heroine's talking about a rooster, but the author doesn't reveal that for a few paragraphs.)

  11. Fun post, Shana! And love the quotes for your books. Here's the first line of my upcoming release THE LORD OF ILLUSION: Drystan Hawkes woke in a cold sweat, still seeing visions of fire and blood and death.


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