But above all, his home was happy and cosy. She really wants to know why these guys are so happy and so she reads on. And, wait for it… Bingo! Your story is read! Remember your most powerful weapon-the first sentence.
Who was she that was everything he dreamt of? For what purpose had they agreed to rendezvous? Why is this guy regretting not having said goodbye? Why are these five girls crowded in the little room? Dead people came at him with party hats and presents. Or it throws us into a situation without giving us all the pieces right away. Why you might use this one: There's nothing more intriguing than a mysterious situation, where you're thrown in the deep end.
People are willing to hang with you for quite a while to find out what this is all about. Why you might not: The mystery has to be really cool, for this to work. Also, you're asking your readers to work pretty hard — they have to ponder the clues you're throwing at them, but then they also have to get into your world and your characters. I feel like the "thrown in the deep end" opening is the riskiest type, because it's the kind that asks the most of the reader.
You have to be pretty skillful, to unravel your cryptic opening at the same time as you're introducing the world and the characters, and it's a bit of a high-wire act. Examples:: "I still have the dollar bill. It's in my box at the bank, and I think that's where it will stay.
I simply won't destroy it, but I can think of nobody to whom I'd be willing to show it — certainly nobody at the college, my History Department colleagues least of all.
Merely to tell the story would brand me irredeemably as a crackpot, but crackpots are tolerated, even on college faculties. It's only when they begin producing physical evidence that they get themselves actively resented. Beam Piper, "Crossroads of Destiny". Ling Yun wished she understood what Phoenix Command wanted from her. Not that she minded the excuse to take a break from the composition for two flutes and hammered dulcimer that had been stymieing her for the past two weeks.
Now Mariska gets up. I haven't changed my sex in eighty three years. Perhaps the narrator can tell us some useful information, that helps us to get intrigued about your story. This could be funny, a la Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Or it could be just a stark explanation of something that the reader isn't going to get any other way — I use a very stripped-down version of it in my story "Six Months, Three Days. Why you might use this one: If your story has a chatty narrator, then addressing the reader directly creates a nice warm tone.
It allows you to feed the reader a ton of information, without necessarily feeling too much like an infodump. If you're actually a funny writer, you can make this sort of thing funny.
Why you might not: It has to be entertaining, or it will feel like a bit of an infodump. You have to be willing to sustain that level of narratorial chattiness, at least on and off, for the rest of the story. Some readers get freaked out about being addressed directly. Where else, if anywhere, did she wish to go? Who did want to go to Florida? A successful opening line raises multiple questions, but not an infinite number.
In other words, it carries momentum. Resist the urge to start too early You might be tempted to begin your narrative before the action actually starts, such as when a character wakes up to what will eventually be a challenging or dramatic day. Far better to begin at the first moment of large-scale conflict. If you begin writing at the most dramatic or tense moment in your story, you have nowhere to go but downhill. Similarly, if your hook is extremely strange or misleading, you might have trouble living up to its odd expectations.
As a fishing buddy of mine explains, the trick is to use the smallest hook possible to make a catch—and then to pull like crazy in the opposite direction. Open at a distance and close in In modern cinema, films commonly begin with the camera focused close up on an object and then draw back panoramically, often to revelatory effect, such as when what appears to be a nude form is actually revealed to be a piece of fruit.
This technique rarely works in prose. Open your story accordingly. But if he can express such profound reluctance, it must be quite a story. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.Examples:: "To get to Earth from the edge of the solar system, depending on the time of year and the position of the planets, you need to pass through at least Poland, Prussia, and Turkey, and you'd probably get stamps in your passport from a few of the other great powers. I wanted, first, for a long, long beach, so I could lie there and recover for a while. A road trip is exactly what me and the girls need. No matter who I was with I cellophane couldn't stop cheating. Should you ask a paragraph or a tale with the backstory. Eleven blocks was a opening way to creative, but there was so much time and how to write a public policy analysis paper was running out. Insincerity's 99 sentences to get you go and get you writing. His blog there includes his very example tips—almost too good to give life for free. Shopping is what I call my home 1 hobby. You can have stuff in a line of elaboration that it would take a paragraph or two of writing to get across.
How can he avoid people clicking away? Jacob Appel offers 10 ways to launch yours in the right direction. The classic "we were halfway to Mars when our fuel tank blew up" beginning. The firmament above is as blue as the summer skies of her childhood, mirrored in the waters of la caldera; but where the skies she remembers were bounded by mountains, here on Sky there is no horizon, only a line of white cloud.
After reading this paragraph, how much enthusiasm do you have to go on reading? A catchy beginning or the weather forecast?
Why you might not: It can be a bit clunky, especially if the quote is hanging there by itself. Sneak into the minds of your readers. It also clearly establishes theme. The problem is that few readers, if confused, will ever make it that far.
Think of every opening line you write as a pebble tossed down a mountainside: The stone may jolt back and forth within a limited path, building up force, but the trajectory of its initial release largely determines its subsequent route. Then as you get closer to the world, you arrive at a point, in the continually shifting carriage space over the countries, where this complexity has to give way or fail. The sentence you are currently reading has the potential to brand itself indelibly upon our cultural consciousness and to alter the course of Western Civilization.
The classic "we were halfway to Mars when our fuel tank blew up" beginning. Dead people came at him with party hats and presents. The danger of the story approach is that we get too focused on telling the story. This is the easiest type of opening paragraph to write; I use it most often. Every work of fiction is an invitation to play. Take the first line of the first book in J.