I have one of those vague memories that’s too good to check, but the opening of Stephen King’s Desperation is sudden and foreshadows exactly what is to come. The version in my head is probably different from reality, but it had an impact. Without giving you a ton of information about setting and characters it jumps you right into the moment. No opening credits. No music. Just thrown into the fray.
I remember the opening line as follows:
“What the fuck is that?”
And then we’re getting into setting and characters, a little, but the conversation quickly turns back to the subjects of the dialogue (A cat nail to a street sign).
Honestly, I don’t want to go grab my copy of the book off the shelf and double check, because the impact of the version in my head has one hell of a lesson. It's basically the underlying question for the first half of the book- and that's the beauty of it. Yes, on the surface level it's a grab, but it holds water if you assign it the double meaning.
It’s indicative of what’s to come.
It’s how to sell your audience on the rest of your story, to keep them turning the page.
Writers always talk about how important the hook of the first sentence is. I can’t think of a better opening to show you exactly what we mean than this.
How much does that matter if you put out a sample chapter? I think you already know.