by Brooke FaveroThis week I've been revising the beginning of my story. Where to start is such a hard thing to decide. It needs to be close to the inciting incident but not so close that the reader gets lost.
And then there is the very very beginning: first sentence, first paragraph, and first page. All three are critical to hook your reader deeper into the plot and the characters. They must make your reader care enough to turn the first page.
Personally, I don't hinge whether I stop reading based on the first page. (I usually give a book about twenty pages. If it doesn't hold my interest by twenty, I'm done.) But I do notice when a first line, paragraph or page is done well. If you need help like me, The Other Side of the Story has some great techniques for crafting the first page.
So I've been reworking my first line a lot this week, and I've also been studying the first lines of many different books. Great first lines generally fit into two categories: character reveal or plot reveal. (Although I think the very best lines do both.)
I took a look at my original first line and it was a character reveal. Not bad but my inciting incident isn't till page 18. I decided I needed a first line with a plot reveal to hook my readers to get them through those 18 pages of character development---sort of a promise of what's to come.
Here's my new first line of my middle grade story (for now): When you fall through a puddle, no one hears you scream, and yet I scream every time.
I still don't love it. Arrrggh. Any thoughts?
What is the first line of your WIP? Is it a character or plot reveal or both?
What are your best tips for writing a first line?