Openings

Opening sentences are so important.  They will either entice a reader or make them put your book aside and find something more engaging.

DO NOT LET THEM PUT YOUR BOOK ASIDE!

If your first sentence can encompass everything that is to come, or at least offer a tantalising snippet, then you've got an awesome opening.

I did an experiment with five of my own openings.  You can do it too! Line them, newest first, oldest last.  Note any similarities, such as the length, the subject matter, even the words they use.  Mine were awful; long-winded, rambling and vague. There was no sense of my characters or the main plot.  I've changed my current work's opening numerous times and I'm sure I'll continue changing it until the final draft.

Openings have to GRAB the reader, engage them with a single sentence and make them want to read on. Here's my favourite opening line ever, from Anthony Horowitz's Stormbreaker:

When the doorbell rings at three in the morning, it's never good news.

My much loved copy.

It's so simple and yet conveys everything the reader needs to know: something bad has happened and you'll find out what it is if you keep reading. 

You know those reviews stating "I was hooked from the first line"? It's true - the first line is that important.  Pull, yank, heave, throw or tackle readers into your book!  The opening of Stormbreaker is amazing.  I enjoyed it so much, I've stuck with the whole series! Well, nearly.  Getting my hands on the last book this week (;_; No more Alex Rider?!).

Good luck! I think getting the opening right is one of the hardest parts to any story.

Comments

  1. The beginning is definitely the most difficult, in my opinion! Great advice, as always!

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  2. Laura: Thanks! I find endings a lot easier!

    ReplyDelete

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