Suzannah is working on a novel and a collection of short stories, both of which have received funding from the Ontario Arts Council. But for me, a good opening sentence really begins with voice. Zora Neale Hurston Their Eyes Were Watching God 1937 52. In the middle of the town, the church tower stood alone above the murk. But what is it, exactly, that hooks a reader? All the townspeople have heard the legends of the church, and were all petrified to enter or get close to it. One possible way around this is to begin with a single line of dialogue and then to draw back and to offer additional context before proceeding with the rest of the conversation—a rare instance in which starting close up and then providing a panorama sometimes works.
Being surrounded by them made her feel as if she had been transported to another world. It's not simply that the major hook is inherently interesting, but that it changes the main character's situation. All materials on this site are the property of their authors and may not be reprinted without the author's written permission, unless otherwise indicated. It is possible to cut too much. Lewis The Voyage of the Dawn Treader 1952 48. As with any other aspect of writing, openings are their own distinct art form—and exposure to the masterwork of others is one of the best ways to learn. The author tantalizes you with incomplete knowledge.
The cunning distribution of exposition and action throughout a scene is called pacing. Clara Collins, widow of the beloved Nazarene preacher Ely Collins, to West Condon on the weekend of the eighteenth and nineteenth of April, there to await the End of the World. What will happen if they do? A breeze is blowing, causing the leaves to make a faint scratching noises on the window of a cabin in a small clearing. First Lines The first line of a short story is very important, a good one can hook the reader and make them want to read on. I read it every few years. We have to start thinking about the end so soon? Consider making it clear from the beginning that it is a memory. I feel his pulse; it is at a slow eerie pace close to unconsciousness.
Sophia's life in the city had begun. Can the dialogue be improved? One that will create a strong impression. Herman Melville Moby-Dick 1851 10. Learning how to create suspense within the first sentence and carry that tension through the first paragraph can help get your story off the ground and hook a reader's interest right from the start. All he could hear was the beating of his heart as he slowly realized he had stopped right in front of the town graveyard. Quote Author Title Year 5. Can she tap gently on a tank, look at the side and see how thick - how thin - the plastic is, imagine all of that water on top of her as she walks in the tunnel.
Try fragmenting your opening line. There is a pair of glasses on his lap, shattered and bent, and a gold pocket watch, that is broken and stuck at 1 a. Joseph Heller Catch-22 1961 67. Article Summary To start a story, try to open your story with something interesting or shocking so you're immediately hooking the reader. The problem is that few readers, if confused, will ever make it that far. Edith Grossman Don Quixote 1605 47. If it's well-executed, the reader will wonder from the first line who these characters are, why they're in their present situation, and what will happen to them.
Slowly, but steadily, the dark wave encircled the city, leaving the church light standing alone at the center. Jeffrey Eugenides Middlesex 2002 69. Sophia found herself walking through a glass tunnel. Alice Walker The Color Purple 1982 70. I take particular issue with your example of Fahrenheit 451, however.
She waited, Kate Croy, for her father to come in, but he kept her unconscionably, and there were moments at which she showed herself, in the glass over the mantel, a face positively pale with the irritation that had brought her to the point of going away without sight of him. It doesn't need to be laid out plainly for the reader in the first few sentences, but by the end of the opening paragraph your reader should have some sense of what's at stake and what is to come. Think of every opening line you write as a pebble tossed down a mountainside: The stone may jolt back and forth within a limited path, building up force, but the trajectory of its initial release largely determines its subsequent route. She tried to fall asleep when, suddenly, she heard a crash downstairs. And, yes, this is important. Looking forward to reading more though.
Most often, this is one of the main characters in the book. Who or what created it? The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. But for my current W. Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. And not just bad books. It wasn't huge, but it was big enough to keep his father busy the whole year.