Stephen King Shares the Best Opening Line He Ever Wrote

By Jason Boog Comment

What’s the best opening line you’ve ever written? Stephen King revealed his favorite first line, a deceptively simple sentence he wrote inĀ Needful Things: “You’ve been here before.”

King wrote about this passage in The Atlantic‘s “By Heart” series online. You should read the whole essay, it is filled with writing advice. Here’s more about the Needful Things opening:

All there by itself on one page, inviting the reader to keep reading. It suggests a familiar story; at the same time, the unusual presentation brings us outside the realm of the ordinary. And this, in a way, is a promise of the book that’s going to come. The story of neighbor against neighbor is the oldest story in the world, and yet this telling is (I hope) strange and somehow different. Sometimes it’s important to find that kind of line: one that encapsulates what’s going to happen later without being a big thematic statement.

(Via Karl Palsgaard