anonymous said:

Do you have anything on writing good first lines?


Here are a few things I would suggest staying away from:

  • Dialogue*
  • A character waking up
  • The “morning routine”
  • An alarm clock
  • An extremely long first sentence

*Dialogue is generally bad as a first line because there is no context. Your readers don’t know who is talking or what is happening. An example of a good first line of dialogue is from Charlotte’s Web:

"Where’s Papa going with that ax?"

It’s such a short line, but it already gives us three characters (Papa, the speaker/child of Papa, and a third character) and a simple situation. The rest of the sentence reveals that the speaker is Fern and that she is speaking to her mother. It’s easy to follow and it sets up the beginning.

writing tip #819:

struggling to write those first words? there’s a ‘start’ button on your keyboard for a reason. hit it repeatedly thrice a second while visualising your protagonist’s face and pushing your forehead against the screen for nineteen minutes, and the perfect opening will appear on the word processor of your choice