By: K.M. Weiland
Opening lines are an art form unto themselves. They must introduce a story’s tone, the author’s wit, the plot itself, and, most importantly, a reason why this story is worth the readers’ time. Boring opening lines aren’t something an author can afford. And yet they’re harder to avoid than you might think.
The problem is that opening lines must also be entirely functional. Where do we begin our stories? At the beginning. And where do most stories begin? Rather ordinarily, with a character who has his feet on the ground and doesn’t know that ground is about to be swept out from under him. We have to open in a comparative normal world. We have to make setting, character, and stakes clear to readers. In other words, we have to be straightforward, right?
Sometimes. But your second paragraph will give you plenty of time for all that. Your first concern in writing an opening line is hooking readers. And the only way to hook them is to make them curious.
Let’s take a look at some standard types of boring opening lines and what we can do to flip them around into something fascinating.
The Weather Line
Boring Opening Line: “It was a bright and sunny day.”
Problem: Snorezilla. Granted, this sounds like a normal world just waitingto get taken down by a tragedy. But for the time being there’s nothing interesting about it. Perfection is never interesting. At least Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s “It was a dark and stormy night” gave us some interesting atmosphere.
Better Opening Line: “It was a bright and sunny day, just the kind of day I was supposed to die in.”
The Setting Line
. . .
Read the full article HERE
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