Start Your Novel Off With a Bang
By Larry Kahaner
Don’t Be A Victim Of Opening-Line Paralysis
I suspect you’re eager to keep reading because I have teased you with the notion that I can help you. That’s because I wrote a strong, provocative opening line.
Non-fiction writers, especially journalists, know about the importance of a strong lede. (Yes, we spell it that way in the biz.) I’m sure you do this for your own writing projects whether they’re reports, whitepapers or anything else you churn out.
Here are some ideas for writing compelling opening lines:
1 – Don’t worry about it – for now. For starters, just write anything that sounds halfway decent. There’s plenty of time to hone your awesome first lines later. To me, first lines are like titles; you have working titles and then make it better when you’re done with the book. Don’t let ‘first line perfection’ hold you up.
2 – Study classic first lines. Although this list purports to be the 100 best first lines, some are stinkers, (especially the longer ones) but most are excellent. Why? See the next point.
3 – As a writer you have just one job. Get readers to read the next line and then the next and the next and then get them to turn the page. If you can do that, you are on the way to being successful. See my guest blog about coercing readers to turn the page on The Thriller Guy’s blog.
The best first lines compel you to continue reading. They are provocative. They make you curious about what comes next.
Check out the opening lines of my novel-in-progress: