It's the opening line of your masterpiece: you want to catch readers' attention from the very start.
Why not make it funny? To quote Mr Alan Partridge, who features on our list, "straight away, you've got them by the jaffers" - and who wouldn't take his advice?
We've found 30 humourous, bizarre and mirth-filled opening lines of books; read on and brighten up your day.
Author: Bill Manville
"I don’t know how other men feel about their wives walking out on them, but I helped mine pack."
Thank You For Smoking
Author: Christopher Buckley
"Nick Naylor had been called many things since becoming the chief spokesman for the Academy of Tobacco Studies, but until now no one had actually compared him to Satan."
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Author: Douglas Adams
"In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move."
I, Partridge: We Need to Talk About Alan
Author: Alan Partridge
"When I was 8 years old, I suffered a nosebleed so profuse and generous I bolted from the schoolyard and sought solace in the first class countryside of Norfolk."
The Lost Continent
Author: Bill Bryson
"I come from Des Moines. Somebody had to."
The Crow Road
'Author: Iain Banks
"It was the day my grandmother exploded."
Pride & Prejudice & Zombies
Author: Seth Grahame-Smith
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”
Wake in Fright
Author: Kenneth Cook
"He sat at his desk, wearily watching the children file out of the room, reflecting that, this term at least, it was reasonable to assume that none of the girls was pregnant."
Author: Monica Drake
”Balloon Tying For Christ was the cheapest balloon manual I could find."
Author: Colin Meloy
“How five crows managed to lift a twenty-pound baby boy into the air was beyond Prue, but that was certainly the least of her worries.”
Author: Max Barry
“As a boy, I wanted to be a train.”
Author: Janet Evanovich
"For the better part of my childhood, my professional aspirations were simple–I wanted to be an intergalactic princess."
The Fifth Elephant
Author: Terry Pratchett
"They say the world is flat and supported on the back of four elephants who themselves stand on the back of a giant turtle."
Still Life With Woodpecker
Author: Tom Robbins
“If this typewriter can’t do it, then f*** it, it can’t be done.”
Into Your Tent I'll Creep
Author: Peter De Vries
“It wasn’t until I had become engaged to Miss Piano that I began avoiding her.”
Author: Vikram Chandra
“A white Pomeranian named Fluffy flew out of the a fifth-floor window in Panna, which was a grand-new building with the painter’s scaffolding still around it. Fluffy screamed.”
I Capture the Castle
Author: Dodie Smith
"I write this sitting in the kitchen sink."
A River Runs Through It
Author: Norman Maclean
"In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing."
An Abundance of Katherines
Author: John Green
"The morning after noted child prodigy Colin Singleton graduated from high school and got dumped for the 19th time by a girl named Katherine, he took a bath. Colin had always preferred baths."
Author: Ha Jin
"Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu."
Author: Jonathan Maberry
"When you have to kill the same terrorist twice in one week, then there’s either something wrong with your skills or something wrong with your world. And there’s nothing wrong with my skills."
Sideways Stories From Wayside School
Author: Louis Sachar
"We’re going to tell you about three of the children in Mrs. Jewls’s class, on the thirtieth story of Wayside School. But before we get to them, there is something you ought to know. Wayside School was accidentally built sideways. It was supposed to be only one story high, with thirty classrooms all in a row. Instead, it is thirty stories high, with one classroom on each story. The builder said he was very sorry."
The Day of the Triffids
Author: John Wyndham
"When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere."
Author: Jeffrey Eugenides
"I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974."
The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul
Author: Douglas Adams
"It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression ‘As pretty as an airport.'"
Author: Chuck Palahniuk
"If you're going to read this, don't bother."
The Princess Bride
Author: William Goldman
“This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it.”
Author: Roald Dahl
"It's a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful."
The Metamorphosis and Other Stories
Author: Franz Kafka
“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect."
Author: E.B. White
"'Where's Papa going with that axe?' said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast."