The first line should be exciting, intriguing, baffling. It should fully engage the readers straight-away, drawing them inextricably in both by the artistry of its construction and by some inward, elemental need to explore the questionable (at best) connection to experienceable reality it suggests. It should provide in the reader an impulse to defend the nature and structure of the empirical universe, an impulse only satisfied through further ravenous reading.
It would be problematic to call this first line an introduction, though. Whereas it should introduce the style and tone of the story and the feelings of hollowness and emptiness at its heart, it should not necessarily introduce the content of the plot.
After reading the first line, the readers should exclaim, “Oh, another sad/tragic/hilarious story about existential despair and cognitive dissonance!’ They should not exclaim, “Oh, a story about a thin apartment wall!”
This will be a very difficult sentence to write. It should be followed quickly by the sound of a train screaming in the distance, which will mean very little to the readers.
First Lines Not To Use:
“The wall separating me from my neighbor is very thin.”
“I can hear everything my neighbor does through this thin wall.”
“The wall between us is so thin that the light passes right through, casting my neighbor’s shadow up on my wall, which I watch lustfully, playacting a life for us together.”