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New Beginnings: How To Craft Perfect Opening Lines

Painting of Russian writer, Evgeny Chirikov

I just love the above painting, as it is so reminiscent of every writer and our search for the perfect opening words, that will lead into our stories/books and novels.

We all think that the most important sentence of any project is the first. It seems very reasonable, after all, that it's this sentence which will draw the eye of the reader and tempt them to reading further.

Yet, the first lines of many great books are not that great at all - so I rather like the idea of making the first three paragraphs really engrossing and not just concentrating on the first line of a book/story etc.

It's often taught on writing courses that you should never mention the full name of your main character in the first line of your book - and yet look at this famous book's first line:

"James Bond, with two double bourbons inside him, sat back in the final departure lounge of Miami Airport and thought about life and death." (Ian Fleming.) Goldfinger.

So, as with all rules (written or unwritten), they are all made to be broken.

Feast your eyes on this wonderful infographic of opening lines...

My top tip for writing a compelling first few lines or even paragraphs, is to write your first draft without paying any special attention to the opening page.

On your second draft, draw up a list of 3/4 possible contenders for openings - and ask your friends and family to choose which one would make them want to read on.

Then you'll have your perfect introduction to your wonderful book/story etc. and it won't have caused you any undue stress. (Unlike the writer in the painting!)

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