Writing Wednesdays: How to write a first line that will hook readers

Do you struggle to write a first line that gets your readers hook, line and sinker? Read on for some advice on the best ways to write a good first line.

Writing a first line can sound daunting as hell. So here's a little advice on how to tackle it.

If you don’t like your opening line – what is it about your opening sentence you don’t like?

Is it not punchy enough, or maybe too punchy? If it’s speech, is it too awkward? If it’s pathetic fallacy (using the weather), is it too cliché? If it’s describing the scene, is it too stilted and stiff, or too long and rambling?

My first recommendation is to carry on writing past that first line.

Don’t dwell on it too much. It can sometimes take you a little while to really get yourself into a book you’re writing – and the first line is often the hardest to write. Just get something down that you can work with. It doesn’t matter if you don’t think it has enough impact or not. Forget about it for now. Write the rest of the opening scene.

You might find as you write more of your opening scene that you’re inspired with a new way to start the story – a particular line, or maybe just a different slant on things. Or, you might get halfway through the book before you go back to that first bit and decide to rewrite it. And that’s okay.

Maybe you could try a prologue, to start?

A snippet of a scene from later in the book that’s mysterious and intriguing and hooks your readers, and then your chapter one opening sentence doesn’t have to be quite so punchy. 

Prologues tend to work better in fantasy and dystopian novels, so be aware of that, depending on your genre (but you CAN of course make it work for any genre! I’m just saying, if you’re writing dystopia/fantasy this is something to definitely consider).

I get asks sometimes from people asking if they are allowed to start their book with a description, or speech.

YES. A THOUSAND TIME YES because there are no rules when it comes to writing YOUR story. I started two of my published novels with speech, just because I wanted to throw my readers right into the character’s life and I didn’t want to spend half a chapter introducing them stiffly and awkwardly. 

And if you want to start with description, or pathetic fallacy, or anything else – then that’s fine too!

You might need to have a couple of goes at the start of your book.

Do several re-writes before you find something you’re happy with and can work with. I had about ten different starts to The Kissing Booth before I ended up writing something I could carry on with for more than two pages.

Don’t be discouraged if you’re struggling.

As long as you feel motivated and inspired by the idea of the story you want to write, then keep trying! Don’t be discouraged. Don’t give up on a story just because you don’t feel like your first line is good enough. You can just go back to it another time. Remember that.

What are your top tips for writing a first line in your story?

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.