Good morning Monday! Today I'm talking about the all important first sentence. Hope it's helpful and informative.
The beginning of our stories is so important that we sometimes over do it when it comes to rewriting. What seemed like a good idea to start our adventure, mostly gets rewritten over and over until our original is in no way close to what we started with. This trap can cause many writers to give up or put their stories away forever, or at least until they have an other epiphany about how to reel the audience in.
Now most writer's will tell you, and you'll read it in the many books that are written on how to impress an editor/agent, we must write a beginning which will pull these people in so that a contract is inevitable. This is true. But the important truth is, if you write something which pleases others and not yourself, then you will fail. The secret is to not compromise your voice and to do the best you possibly can with clean edits and POV (point of view), which both have made some serious changes with their rules, in the last few years. This will be for another blog.
Your beginning, or more importantly your first sentence, must be captivating. An action, an adventure or conflict. The all important first sentence must answer the question: Will this be a story that will pull the reader in to turn page after page?
Write the first sentence with feeling. Have it show something and then bring in the action. Make it dramatic and use your five senses--
She walked across the street, looking as she went. Uumm... what was she looking for? Who the hell is she? How did she cross the street and what was the day like?
Annabelle trudged across the scolding dirt filled road, all the while searching for a shady spot to rest in the God forsaken town she broke down in. Much better if not a little long. However, you get the point. We know who she is, we know why she's in the town and what the day is like. Trudged lets us know she's tired, scolding that is HOT and so is she, dirt filled road (have you ever been on one during a scolding day? Uhhh!!) The scene brings up visions of cracked earth that are dusty and parched. Therefore, so must are character be. God forsaken a place which was forgotten and has little inhabitants which are probably not trustworthy. Totally not a town I wish to visit. So we have, sight (dirt filled road), touch (scolding) and sound/hearing (God forsaken) There doesn't seem to be anyone around to make noise, which makes it a little scary if you ask me. Okay, so we've used 3 of the 5 senses.
So Annabelle is stuck. Who is she going to seek out? What is she going to do? Where is she? When will she get help? Why did she break down in this town? And How will she get out?
With all these questions I have to wonder what will happen next! Therefore, I'll keep reading and turning the pages.
Anyone else have some tricks they use to open their stories? If so, I'd love to hear from you. :)
Have a sparkling day!