Good opening lines
by Will C.
(North Central West Virginia)
Question: I have an idea for a good story for a novel, but I am not sure what is a good way to start it. I don't want to use anything that has been used over and over, or something that is going to annoy my readers.
Any suggestions on good ways to start the story?Question:
Well, I definitely wouldn't start with the main character waking up.
1. Open in medias res
, in the middle of things. Generally, you want to start at an important event. It doesn't have to be an event from the overall throughline. It could be the first event from any of the other three. But it should be significant.
2. Often, you will see the first paragraph hint at something significant that is about to happen or create some mystery, followed by some preamble. This is all right, but a little more challenging because you have to create an intriguing voice or main character to keep the reader with you until the event occurs (which should not take long).
3. More challenging is to open with preamble, philosophizing, etc. You need a really strong and charming voice to make this work.
One thing I would suggest you do is go to a bookstore or library and look at a number of top rated books in your genre. Read the first few pages and note what the author does to hook the reader. Don't try to copy them, just see what techniques they use.
Bear in mind that the opening should give the reader some sense of what sort of story they are in for. It's in the first page or so that the reader will decide whether the story is worth their investment. Don't, for instance, start with what sounds like a thriller story if the rest of the story is a sweet romance, because you don't want to disappoint them.