Posted by Linda
"It was a dark and stormy night . . . . ." Bring up this cliché of book openings to a gathering of writers and watch tears of mirth stream down their cheeks. If this isn't a good opening, what, you wonder, is?
sentence should hook the reader. Start in the middle of an action. Begin with one of these (or a combination of) - action,
character, dialogue, situation, setting and mood, story theme or
philosophical idea. Choose anything that will make the reader turn the page.
According to Kathleen Phillips in How to Write a Story, some
authors think "action and character openings, especially when combined
with dialogue are the strongest and best attention getters." She lists
on pages 84-85 these examples along with others:
Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth, - The small boys came early to the hanging.
Lloyd Alexander's The Cat Who Wished to Be a Man, - "Please, mister," said the cat, "will you change me into a man?"
George Orwell's 1984, - It was a bright, cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol, - Marley was dead, to begin with.
David Ordan, Any Minute Mom Should Come Blasting Through the Door, - Mom died in the middle of making me a sandwich.
The best opening I've ever written appeared in a contest entry which won first place - Grandpa's Violin, - Because my parents divorced in 1947, I learned to dance to my grandpa's violin.
suggest you look at books on your shelves, go to a library or bookstore and pull a few enticing titles. Read the first lines. Be aware that like the first example, not all first
lines represent good writing. You make the decision if the line hooks
A good opening performs the second chance to attract a reader. What is the first? A good
What opening lines hooked you?