Don’t underestimate the power of your opening lines.
Your first words are super important when writing your novel. Almost as imporant as that first cup of tea in the morning. Your opening lines are what draws an agent, a publisher, your reader into your novel, and makes them want to read more.
And we all want them to read more.
It sounds easy, doesn’t it? I mean, how hard can it be to write compared to the rest of your novel? But there’s a difference to writing your first lines, and making them great. And sometimes, it can be quite difficult to achieve.
Open in the middle of action:
‘Danny dove behind the crumbling wall, clenching the knife in his hand.’
Immediately, you are giving your readers questions. Why is Danny running? Who is he hiding from, and why has he got a knife? You dive straight into the action, cutting out the probably mundane day to day set up before the plot kicks in.
Just be cautious- especially if you’re worldbuilding- not to give too much without delving into some explanation of the world around you, so not to confuse your reader.
Open with a question:
‘Do you ever get the feeling that you’re always one step away from experiencing something amazing?’
Again, it invites your reader to continue by outright asking a question. What does the narrator mean when they say this? Are they about to experience something amazing? Most likely, but what? It also gives your protagonist a voice, especially if you’re using first person.
Open with dialogue:
‘Are you freaking kidding me? Again?’
This one is tricky. If you’re going to do this, pick the right dialogue. You don’t want to start a story with a mundane conversation about someone’s shoes. Start in the middle of an arguement, or someone calling for help. With dialogue, you need to be right in the middle of it.
Open with inner thought:
‘Aly often thought of falling.’
Any type of inner thought/dialogue would work, but again only if it makes your readers ask questions. A thought about another character, an event, or a sassy comment will help pull the reader in. This will also help establish character voice early on.
What are your opening lines?
Good thoughts and happy writing!