1. “Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it: and Scrooge’s name was good upon ‘Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.
“Mind! I don’t mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country’s done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.”
2. “The King killed my canary today.
“Now, I know full well that the customary way to beging such a tale as min is: ‘Once upon a time, when wishes still came true, there lived a poor orphan Goose Girl,’ or some such fiddle-faddle. But what do I care for custom? ‘Tis my own story I am telling and I will tell it as I please. And as I find myself plunged into it right up to the neck, I see no reason why you should not be also.
“The King killed my canary today.”
Last, but certainly not least,
3. “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”
(This is the one that made me want to become a writer in the first place.)
Each one draws my curiosity instantly, each one tells me a little about the world I am about to delve into, and each one instantly engages me with the narrator. Each has the effortless voice of a true story teller.
Through looking at this list, it has also become clear to me that I tend to prefer the more ramble-y, conversational kinds of storytelling. In media res is all fine and good but it just doesn’t engage me personally the same way as these do.
What are some of your favorite book intros?