Opening Lines: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

This is the blog where we dissect the opening sentences of popular works of fiction. Few people outside of the writing community know how much blood, sweat, and tears go into crafting the perfect Opening Line; and for that reason, I want to bring attention to the incredible work that a writer puts into these first few words. Today we will examine Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One.


First, let’s take a look at the blurb:

In the year 2045, reality is an ugly place. The only time Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the OASIS, a vast virtual world where most of humanity spends their days.

When the eccentric creator of the OASIS dies, he leaves behind a series of fiendish puzzles, based on his obsession with the pop culture of decades past. Whoever is first to solve them will inherit his vast fortune – and control of the OASIS itself.

Then Wade cracks the first clue. Suddenly he’s beset by rivals who’ll kill to take this prize. The race is on – and the only way to survive is to win.

Now, let’s examine his Opening Line:

“Everyone my age remembers where they were and what they were doing when they first heard about the contest.”

That’s a really great opener.

Let’s break this down a bit.

First we have, “Everyone my age remembers where they were and what they were doing…”

This implies a big deal. It doesn’t matter how old the person is that is saying this, if you hear it, you know they are about to tell you about something very significant.

It would be like me saying, “I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when the Twin Towers fell.”

Or an older generation saying, “I remember where I was and what I was doing when Kennedy was shot,” or “I remember where I was and what I was doing when Elvis died.”

These types of events are so significant that they leave a lasting impact on the memory.  We, as readers, know that with this type of phrasing, something big is coming.

Next we read, “…when they first heard about the contest.”

So the big thing has to do with a contest. As always, a great Opening Line makes us ask questions. In this case, we are left wondering, “What contest?” We also want to know why this contest is such a big deal? Typically a contest rewards the winner with a prize. Is it the prize that’s so important or the contest itself? Either way, we want to find out.

For these reasons alone, Ready Player One has a great Opening Line.

To read more or purchase this book, click the Barnes & Noble link.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s