How important are the first words of your story?


I agonize over the first paragraph more than any part of a story. Sometimes I rewrite it a dozen times and often making it worse before I make it better. 

So how do you start that story?

By grabbing the reader.


With a whisper and a promise. With fear or joy. You dangle temptation, and offer redemption. The trick is to not start out too big or too fast. It’s like catching a great white shark or blowing up the planet, too much momentum can leave the reader with nowhere to climb. Often a sense of let down or exhaustion hits midway through the book. 

I once read that the writer needs to give the reader a reason to suspend their disbelief and they will gladly go along for the ride. No matter how far-fetched the story all they need is a reason and they will keep reading.


That reason could be a killer opening line. A likeable character or character they love to hate.

 believes that the seeds of that triumph or defeat are sown by the end of the very first sentence. Read his post and see what he says about starting a story.

10 Ways to Start Your Story Better By:

Darcy Pattison wrote a book START YOUR NOVEL in which she lists twelve ways to start novels and give examples of the top opening lines of all times. In the following post she looked at the Top selling books for the week ending August 9, 2013, opened their stories. One contemporary author opened her story with dialog. To read more click: 


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5 thoughts on “How important are the first words of your story?

  1. May I ruin your life by pointing you toward the first line in :One Hundred years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez… a line which has killed a thousand writers because of their poor imitation or inability to replicate it or given rise to a thousand others who did manage to get it right but as farce?
    More than the first few words, it is the first few paragraphs which would make sense… if those who dissed it after reading the first line say that there is no merit in the work, let them go to Hades… Not always the first line, not even the first page.. – these are all affectations of a modern, shallow, frivolous world… if we did not have readers like that ever, this topic, my dear, would be coyness indeed (with apologies to Marvell and other metaphysical poets)… No, this is an American affectation, in modern times.. get to the point, they shout, from the first line onwards.. Bah!! Incorrigible barbarians…. No, by all means take your time to get to the point.. I will read it :D… Eh, minority etc…. hehe.. but you need to sell your book.. so the catchy first line and the need to outdo everyone else.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. ….which, in other words, in your sanitized world stands for “Bah, will this fellow never shut up” hahaha… Just kidding…
        Sincerely… hope you don’t mind it at all.. because I don’t often come to blogs these days.. and I am barely tolerated elsewhere…

        Liked by 1 person

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