Some Favorite Examples:
“This is the story of my life, but it does not start with birth and childhood, nor with my early memories. The real beginning of life came to me with the taste of death, on the morning of 21st March, 1918.” Witness, by John Bennett
“When in the winter of 1983 I was to visit Graham Greene in Antibes, he told me over the phone, in his precise and practical way, that there would be no heating in the small hotel near his home, that I would need a hot-water bottle, and that the cost would be only 127 francs a day.” The Life of Graham Greene, by Norman Sherry
“The year is 1900. Dawn of a new century. New York City is in the midst of a new building boon, though more than one and a half million people in the city are estimated to be living in slums.” Monkey Business – The Lives and Legends of the Marx Brothers, by Simon Louvish
Now Try This: Write three completely different opening lines for your own Biography.
The first one sets the stage for your first strongest memory, something that ‘woke you up.’
Write the next opening in the third person, from the point of view of a fictional interviewer.
Write the third by describing a setting or scene from your life that makes vivid either an era or a place.