Chapter One - Opening with Speech

Question: Can I start the first paragraph of chapter one with speech? Many Thanks B.


Answer: Opening with a line of dialogue is a good way to plunge straight into a scene, which in turn is a good way to get the reader immediately involved in the story. This is usually more effective than opening with preamble. (A common exception is if you're writing in first person, so that the character talks to the reader in that first sentence, using a distinct and appealing voice.) But immediate reader involvement is the thing that makes both approaches work.

It is especially effective if that first line of dialogue is surprising, strange, or creates a little mystery as to what is going on - so the reader will want to keep gong to find out. An alternative is for that line to convey an endearing characterization.

Often it works to then pull back just a little to set the scene. In other words, to make the next sentence or two briefly describe what is happening, where, and to whom.

Then continue with the scene, to keep the reader involved. By the time you're done this first scene, you want your reader to be emotionally invested in the story, so that they will continue reading.

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