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Often, when we start this way, it’s because we’re struggling to write our way into the narrative, rather than letting the story develop momentum of its own.
An opening line should have a distinctive voice, a point of view, a rudimentary plot and some hint of characterization.
By the end of the first paragraph, we should also know the setting and conflict, unless there is a particular reason to withhold this information.
This need not lead to elaborate or complex openings. For example, the opening sentence of Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” tells the reader: “The grandmother didn’t want to go to Florida.” Already, we have a distinctive voice—somewhat distant, possibly ironic—referring to grandmother with a definite article. And we have a sense of characterization: a stubborn or determined elderly woman.
Although we do not know the precise setting, we can rule out Plato’s Athens, Italy under the Borgias and countless others. Yet what matters most is that we have direction—that O’Connor’s opening is not static.
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. But what author doesn’t dream of crafting an opening line that will achieve the iconic recognition of “Call me Ishmael,” or the staying power of “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth …”?
In writing, as in dating and business, initial reactions matter. Appel is a physician, attorney and bioethicist based in New York City.
If the protagonist’s early-morning rituals are essential to the story line, or merely entertaining, they can always be included in backstory or flashbacks—or later, when he wakes up for a second time.
Many writers are taught that the more unusual or extreme their opening line, the more likely they are to “hook” the reader.
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.
This is not to say that you can’t include information in your opening that acquires While you don’t want to confuse your readers, presenting them with a puzzle can be highly effective—particularly if the narrator is also puzzled.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating