Author Topic: Your opening paragraph for a novel  (Read 2142 times)

Lin

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Your opening paragraph for a novel
« on: June 03, 2017, 09:48:02 AM »
I was trying to make my opening paragraphs sparkle for my new book.  The last two novels I have spent ages agonising on what I wrote when it dawned on me that I don't really need to do that.

Once you have written your novel, you can pick out some of the main parts from the whole book and begin your opening lines, based on the main story, without giving too much away.  

I have started with a couple of paragraphs about my main character and done a teeny bit of foreshadowing from later on in the book.  Now, if I hadn't finished writing the story as a first draft, I couldn't have done this and would have kept on agonising over what I was going to write.  As a result, I have something very sparkly and positive and keeping the reader reading knowing what I now know.  I think that works.

The point I am making is that, don't worry about writing the opening lines, because later on your story will guide you. You can always go back and write it for real when you know how the story is going to continue. You will have more information by then and be able to write your opening lines with confidence because you then know how it's all going to end.  

I hope this is helpful for the 'newbies'.  I have re-written my opening lines so many times and changed them, but the best openings came from further on in the story.

Lin  
« Last Edit: June 03, 2017, 09:49:47 AM by Lin Treadgold - Author »

Jo Bannister

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Re: Your opening paragraph for a novel
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2017, 03:32:18 AM »
Possibly the most important parts of any book are the opening and the ending: the one to draw people in, the other to leave them satisfied.  But there's no law that says you have to write the opening first.  Many of us find it better to write a kind of place-saver, that does the job for now without pretending to be the finished article.  As Lyn says, the ideal opening may only become apparent once the bulk of the book has been written.

Openings are hugely important - but not at the point that you're writing your book.  Get on and tell your story.  Write the perfect opening later, when you know what it needs to do for you.

Offline Gyppo

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Re: Your opening paragraph for a novel
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2017, 05:16:19 AM »
Absolutely.

Getting the story up and running for you, as the writer, is different from getting it started as the reader.

If you hesitate too long over that first step you may never even make the journey.

Gyppo
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1

hillwalker3000

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Re: Your opening paragraph for a novel
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2017, 06:52:19 AM »
Possibly the most important parts of any book are the opening and the ending: the one to draw people in, the other to leave them satisfied.

Agreed. The opening has to make them want to read your book. The ending has to make them want to read your next book.

H3K

Offline blhuie

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Re: Your opening paragraph for a novel
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2017, 10:20:16 AM »
May I post one here, for
constructive criticism;or
is there another place?
Thanks
"B"

hillwalker3000

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Re: Your opening paragraph for a novel
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2017, 12:46:05 PM »
Try here:

http://mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=3138.5115

or start a new thread on the Review My Work page.

H3K

Offline alenaarndt

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Re: Your opening paragraph for a novel
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2022, 04:47:14 AM »
Or self-publish and prove to them your work will sell.
wordle game online




Offline Clarius

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Re: Your opening paragraph for a novel
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2022, 08:24:53 AM »
Or self-publish and prove to them your work will sell.
wordle game online
Very true. Anyone with a proven track record has a foot in the door with agents and publishers. That said, are those roles still relevant in the age of self-publishing?
O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us

 - Robert Burns

Offline jacklinalbert

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Re: Your opening paragraph for a novel
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2022, 10:18:37 AM »
Thank you for providing great content. There must be an initial intrigue in a book or short narrative that keeps the reader engaged, according to the Legal Founders.

Offline Remotely

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Re: Your opening paragraph for a novel
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2022, 10:11:48 PM »
I never quite looked at this issue in that way before. Sounds like very sound advice. I have 15k words of a novel started, and back when I wrote my first paragraph I thought it was fine. But now that I'm this far along, I'm starting to see how it might have to be changed.

Good stuff.