10/13/09

Writing Tip Tuesday: The First Page

I cannot stress enough the importance of your first page, first paragraph, first sentence. It doesn't need to be perfect during your first draft. But when you go back to revise, put everything you've got into that beginning.

The beginning needs to draw the reader in, captivate them, intrigue them, grab them around the throat in a death grip and not let go! If you can hold that grip through the end of the first chapter, you've probably got a story that the reader is going to finish.

Take a look at some of the first sentences of your favorite novels. One of my favorites is:

"The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit."

Okay, I'm an adult and I was intrigued. Imagine a teenager reading this—they would be enthralled. Which is good, because it's from the very popular book, Uglies by Scott Westerfield.

Or how about this one:

"I'd never given much thought to how I would die—
though I'd had reason enough in the last few months—
but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this."

Say what you want about Twilight, but that's a captivating opening line.

Or another of my favorites:

"Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered
she had turned into the wrong person."

Having been there myself, I had to keep reading Anne Tyler's Back When We Were Grownups.

Want to see more cool first lines? Click HERE.

Okay, not everyone is going to be captivated by the same first line. What does it for me may draw a "meh" from you. That's okay. The point is, your first lines, paragraphs and pages need to start your target reader's heart beating a little faster.

So practice. Write some good first lines and first paragraphs. If you want, you can post them in the comments, or on your blog with a link in the comments here. Or just tell us some of your favorite first lines from books you've read recently.

2 comments:

Paul West said...

I'm wondering what most people think of this one from my first novel (yet to be published) SWEET REVENGE:

"Christmas Eve! Ha! Whoever said it was supposed to be a happy, loving time hasn’t tried living with Mark’s family, the infamous Wilkerson Family Singers."

LDS_Publisher said...

That works--depending on where you are going next.