Lots of Onces and Lots of Times

The first lines of a book are often the most powerful and usually the hardest to write. As an aspiring writer myself, I’m continually searching for just the right “beginning” – something that really packs a punch, makes the reader laugh, or draws him in like a lure. As one of the best examples I’ve encountered to date, I offer you the opening lines N.D. Wilson’s Leepike Ridge:

In the history of the world there have been lots of onces and lots of times, and every time has had a once upon it. Most people will tell you that the once upon a time happened in a land far, far away, but it really depends on where you are. The once upon a time may have been just outside your back door. It may have been beneath your very feet. It might not have been in a land at all but deep in the sea’s belly or bobbing around on its back.

Praise God for the creativity he has bestowed on the mind of man. How dull life would be without it.

(Have a favorite opening line from a book?
Feel free to share it in the comments section)

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10 thoughts on “Lots of Onces and Lots of Times”

  1. My favorite opening lines in my favorite book are:

    “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.”

    Gregg Metcalf
    Colossians 1:28-29
    Gospel-driven Disciples

  2. As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place where was a den, and laid me down in that place to sleep; and as I slept, I dreamed a dream.

    Blessings! :-)

  3. From Tuck Everlasting:
    “The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color. Often at night there is lightning, but it quivers all alone. There is no thunder, no relieving rain. These are strange and breathless days, the dog days, when people are led to do things they are sure to be sorry for after.”

  4. One of my favorite opening lines, from ‘A Tale of Two Cities’:
    “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 far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

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