If you asked a thousand different writers about the hardest part of writing their story down, I’m willing to bet that at least 700-800 of them would blame the beginning.
The beginning of a book is difficult to pin down, and hard to get right.
It could take a thousand different rewrites, endless shifting words and sentences around, or the right opening just falls out of thin air and sticks around. (Although mostly, it remains one of the difficult bits of writing.)
That’s why I’ve always held a special love for the first (and last) lines of books, articles and stories. A lot of work went into the text as a whole, and even more thought went into getting the text started on the right note.
First lines can set the tone for the rest, and first lines can often contain little bits of wisdom to remember. I’ve read a lot of first lines that will stick with me forever – and I’ve also read first lines that meant I put the book down right there.
While I’m not hugely into bibliomancy (or reading the future from books), I do believe that first and last lines have a little bit of magic in them.
Feel free to consult your nearest bridge book for a look at what it has to say.
Here are the first lines of 6 famous bridge books.
From GIB’s System Notes
“It’s difficult to describe precisely how GIB defends. It doesn’t use rules and guidelines, like humans often do. It simulates hands based on the auction, using double dummy analysis to determine the average result of each defensive play, and chooses the one with the best average.”
Modern Competitive Bidding – by Audrey Grant
“The range for an opening 1NT has been decreasing steadily. It used to be 16-18 points, but nowadays the popular range is 15-17, and the trend is toward an even lower range of 14-16.”
Winning Contract Bridge – by Eddie Kantar
“There are two great families of card games. In one, the objective is to form combinations of cards which have an arbitrary value. In the other family, to which contract bridge belongs, the objective is to win tricks.”
Beginning Bridge – by Barbara Seagram & Linda Lee
“Welcome to the wonderful world of bridge! Bridge is a social game played among four people sitting around a table. If there are four of you starting out together, introduce yourself to the person sitting across from you.”
Contract Bridge for Beginners – by Charles H Goren
“If you have never played bridge before, I can promise that there is an exciting adventure in store for you.”
Bridge For Dummies – by Eddie Kantar
“Welcome to Bridge Boot Camp! In this chapter, I talk about some basic concepts that you need to have under your belt to get started playing bridge. Consider this chapter your first step into the game of bridge. If you read this whole chapter, you’ll graduate from Bridge Boot Camp.”