People are impatient. More important, readers are impatient. They want to know from the start that they are reading something that interests them.
The slow build that works so well in drama and fiction doesn’t have anything like the same effect in an email, a report or proposal; in magazines and newspapers or on the web.
We’re operating in a ruthless world. “You haven’t grabbed my attention in 2 seconds? Well, I’m moving on.”
That puts the pressure on to come up with a strong first sentence.
Here’s one I came across in a feature about Newfoundland in Conde Nast Traveller:
I tasted an iceberg some days before I first saw one.
It’s unexpected, it’s visual and it stuck in my mind.
How about you? Which first sentences have stayed with you recently?