When writing and/or editing a novel, writers tend to stress over the opening word/line/paragraph/page/chapter. All of those. They want the opening words to be ones that will pull in the readers or agent -- will make them keep reading, turning the pages into the next chapter and the next.
And so those opening lines become a test for the author. Can s/he make them so compelling that the agent will sign on, the editor will buy the manuscript, the reader will buy the book? An author probably spends more time on the first chapter than any other, writing, re-writing, perfecting.
The opening lines and pages are important. So is the rest of the book.
If you imagined your book as a home, what would the walk-up to the book look like? Is it wide sweeping steps? A narrow pathway? Are there flower pots and bursts of color? Is it dark and spooky? Are your words open and inviting or are they a trick, luring the reader into the danger ahead? Is the mood light and happy? Do your words evoke emotions that send the readers’ hearts racing?
What does the door to your story look like? Does it have stained glass? A peephole? Is it wood or made of metal? Is it a screendoor? Do your readers get an idea of what will happen in the coming chapters? Are they unsure where you’re leading them? Have you revealed too much? Too little?
What will happen when your readers open the door and move into the story, into the lives of your characters? How will they react when they enter the house of your book? Will they continue reading? Will they rush to the end? Savor your words slowly? Or leave this book you’ve written?
What kind of entry into your plot have you created?
4 months ago