Grab them fast

May 19, 2012 at 9:51 am (Beginners, Writing Advice)

This article is all about your first paragraph. You really should read it all – it’s brilliant, and the lady is speaking from the harrowing experience of having just read over 1500 first paragraphs – most of which were rubbish (she said so, but more politely).

Here’s a sentence I particularly liked:

If you do start with the “typical”, you have about three sentences to introduce something unique/unexpected that’ll keep a reader reading.

And here is something really special – the opening scenes that happen far, far too often. I know I personally have used two and a half of these in my novels alone. That is not a good sign.

People waking up

People waking up tied to a chair or in other harrowing situations
“My father/mother/uncle always told me”
Leaving husbands/wives
Describing sunlight/wind (or rain, which I’ve mentioned)
Ghosts, ghosts, ghosts
People moving and arriving at their new house
First day back at school
People being called “crazy”
The main character has just murdered someone
Dreams (recurring or otherwise)
Pregnancy tests
Read the whole article.

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