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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > May 2016 > And another thing...

And another thing...

‘A great first sentence is very important. In a novel, it’s a “promise,” a “handshake,” an “embrace,” a “key.” Great first sentences are celebrated everywhere literature is cherished and mandated everywhere it’s taught. They’re a pleasure and a duty – the “most important sentence in a book,” everyone agrees. But they haven’t always been important. When Daniel Defoe wrote the first English novel, Robinson Crusoe, in 1719, first sentences weren’t important, and so he wrote, “I was born in the year 1632, in the city of York, of a good family, though not of that country, my father being a foreigner of Bremen, who settled first at Hull.” When Charlotte Brontë wrote Jane Eyre in 1847, first sentences still weren’t important, and even so she wrote, “There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.”’

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Got a five year plan? You set the targets, we'll help you hit them Everything you need to know before you write your novel New series: Shelf life - Top authors pick their favourite reads Reinventing Shakespeare: Be inspired by the Bard Publishing: Behind the scenes - Follow a book from manuscript to publication Star interview: Reader success - Costa Book of the Year winner Frances Hardinge Writers' News: 20 packed pages of publishing opportunities and £80,608 in writing prizes

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