Writing a book takes such a high level of intelligence and skill. Whether you’re doing it for fun or getting it published and hopefully viewed by people all over the world, you need to know how to capture your audience. Bringing the characters to life and making people feel as if they are in the story line is a fine art to master. There has to be twists and turns, cliffhangers, and most importantly, a gripping first paragraph. Before deciding to buy a book, your audience will generally have a look through the synopsis. Then the first paragraph to get a feel for the story, and whether they’ll enjoy it.
When writing a fiction book, it’s a good idea to open with introducing the main character slightly. Too much doesn’t have to be given away, but a punchy first line is essential. If it’s a romantic novel, maybe start with a blazing row between the main character and their partner. This will really leave the reader questioning what caused the argument, who they are and what their relationship is like. If you’re doing the book from the first person, try and really delve into the thoughts of the character. Set the scene of where they are, what’s troubling them. Again this will leave the reader asking who they are, and how they got into the state of mind they’re in. The same applies to all genres, not just romance.
The size of the opening paragraph is also important. If you’re going for a short and snappy one, it is a lot harder to draw the reader in. In this instance, you’d have to go with a cliffhanger or a question. Most authors choose to go for a medium sized introduction, so they can fit all the important information that will capture the audience. The most important thing you shouldn’t do is ramble on and create a huge opening paragraph. This will only bore the reader, and most of the information won’t stick anyway. Short and sweet is the way forward.
The point made in the previous paragraph regarding introductory paragraphs being too long is an all too easy mistake to make. There are so many thoughts rushing through your brain; it’s easy to try and cram them all into one paragraph. If you’re writing on Word, trying using the footnotes on the page to get your ideas down. If you’re not a whizz with Word, try taking a course from companies such as Training Connection. There are so many useful tools that you can utilize through Word to help you with your writing.
If you’re still struggling to decide which way to take your opening paragraph, take notes from some of the greatest authors in the world. Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen is the perfect example of a hooking first paragraph. It leaves the reader questioning and is somewhat poetic. Another great example, is The Haunting Of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson. The introduction is so eerie and again questioning, while at the same time being rather informative. Both of these amazing authors have mastered the art of the opening first paragraph; and it is time for you too, too.