One of my favorite authors, William Gibson, writes about the beginnings of novels, his own and those of others (he dwells on Elmore Leonard’s opener in Get Shorty). Even when writing about writing, Gibson is sweet:
In any case, the first sentence is the handshake, on either side of the writer-reader divide. The reader shakes hands with the writer. The writer has already had to shake hands with the unknown. Assuming both have heard the click, we’ve got it going on.
More from Light the Dark: Writing on Creativity, Inspiration, and the Artistic Process edited by Joe Fassler.