I'm having trouble with the opening to the sequel of Arcadia Snips and the Steamwork Consortium (which is, to no surprise, entitled 'Arcadia Snips and the Clockwork Heart'), a steampunk novel set in a retro-Victorian setting (think Jules Verne).
The opening starts with a flashback, just like the previous work; this one calls upon William Daffodil, one of the MPs from the previous novel, only here as a child in his boarding school. The school's put together a little science fair, and William has decided to try and steal the show using a series of mirrors to reflect beams of light into a parabolic reflector which he'll use to prove the potential of solar power. The results are devastating, and involve the destruction of several other students' exhibits ("Only a Daffodil could create a death ray *on accident*!").
What I need is an opening line that really sucks you in--I think (perhaps a bit arrogantly!) that the opening to the first book--the first few paragraphs, to be specific--are really great for setting the mood of the book and simultaneously setting the mood of the first chapter, as well as setting up a very simple, very easy-to-understand visual joke (flying pig!). I want to recreate that sense, somehow, but I'm at a loss of exactly how to do it--the 'perfect opening' has eluded me so far. Something that hooks, sets the scene, and sets the mood--all in one stroke.
I'm not expecting someone here to write my opening line for me, but I was curious if anyone might have any ideas--or suggestions as to how they figured out their particular opening lines. I might just leave it alone for now--there's certainly a lot more work to do elsewhere--but the lack of an opening I feel really confident about has been bugging me for a while, so I thought I'd air out my grievances here.
Thanks for reading!