Editor’s Note: Fantastic First Sentences

Editor-in-chief Liz Vaccariello recalls the best first sentences to ever run in 'Reader's Digest.'

december january 2016 ed letterSteve Vaccariello for Reader's DigestOpeners are everything. As Stephen King famously remarked, “An opening line should say: Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this.”

I’ve long collected the first lines that move me. Here are a few of my favorites from Reader’s Digest over the past year.

• Just how bad a mother am I?

Long before I ever wanted to be a neuroscientist, I wanted to be a Broadway star.

• It’s a good time to be a pessimist.

• Before they threw him in chains, he was a gutsy kid with wandering feet.

If you want to probe one of the great mysteries of the human mind, all you need is a duster and your feet.

Even as I said it, I knew it was ridiculous and selfish.

• Once great wrongs are done, it’s rarely possible to undo them.

Nobody knows who he is, and nobody knows who he was.

Reader Bill Butler wrote my winner for this issue: When his story arrived in my mailbox, I flagged it as one of five selections for “Miraculous Christmas Stories.” (Mr. Butler keeps good company there with James Michener.)

I’d love for next year’s feature to include more stories by readers. Has something miraculous happened to you? Send your incredible story (a maximum of 500 words, please) to [email protected] We will pay $2 a word upon publication of your article, which we reserve the right to edit and fact-check (to the extent one can fact-check a miracle, that is).

Remember: Make that first sentence count.

I invite you to e-mail me at [email protected] and follow me at facebook.com/lizvaccariello and lizvaccariello on Instagram.

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