It was the best of times, it was the worst of times – pretty much any time you sit down and try to think of a memorable opening line to anything you write.
Indeed there is no more important task than nailing a good opening line to a book.
Great first lines from novels, such as Charles Dickens’ “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” from A Tale of Two Cities or Jane Austen’s “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife,” from Pride and Prejudice, are bold statements of intent that stay with us forever. – Perfect lines that we could never imagine the author improving on.
Until now, that is.
Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy author Marc Laidlow came up with the wheeze of adding “and then the murders began” as a second sentence to improve the opening of any book, and Twitter took up his challenge with hilarious results across all genres. Especially children’s fiction.
Here are our favourite examples of what is now known as #LaidlawsRule. Tweet and comment below with any you would care to add!
The first line of almost any story can be improved by making sure the second line is, "And then the murders began."
— Marc Laidlaw (@marc_laidlaw) March 3, 2017
— John McGraw (@mcgrawfeathers) March 3, 2017
No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be an heroine. And then the murders began.
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) March 3, 2017
@neilhimself Every Who down in Whoville liked Christmas a lot. And then the murders began.
— Justin Williams (@kixprime) March 3, 2017
“I wonder what Piglet is doing," thought Pooh. And then the murders began. https://t.co/ZWBA29tjW9
— Damon Young (@damonayoung) March 3, 2017
He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone 84 days without taking a fish. And then the murders began. https://t.co/IRlMLs1OdL
— Darryl Daugherty (@DarrylDaugherty) March 3, 2017
— Johan Sandell (@sandell_johan) March 3, 2017
— Kris Whitmore (@Kris_Whitmore) March 3, 2017
Mr & Mrs Dursley, of number 4, Privet Drive, were proud to say they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. And then the murders began. https://t.co/WbbBuyehqU
— Kyle Treasure (@KyleTreasure) March 3, 2017
One sunny Sunday, the caterpillar was hatched out of a tiny egg. He was very hungry. And then the murders began. #LaidlawsRule
— Elizabeth Meg (@Scranshums) March 3, 2017
'Twas brillig and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe.
All mimsy were the borogroves
And then the murders began.#LaidlawsRule
— Imperator Courtiosa (@courtcan) March 4, 2017
— nafunda (@nafunda) March 3, 2017
@marc_laidlaw The UML is the successor to the wave of OOA&D methods that appeared in the late ’80s and early 90’s. Then the murders began.
— David Brockley (@DavidBrockley) March 3, 2017