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If someone opens my book I want my first sentence to whisper, “you want to know more.” I want the reader to know just what kind of book this is. How my story is told, not necessarily a setup for the entire novel.
I’m not going for something beautiful or awe inspiring, that wouldn’t match the rest of my book either. Witty would be nice, but for me funny scenes write themselves, if I try to be funny it just doesn’t work.
I struggled forever with my opening line. Then I chose to move the first two paragraphs of my book. I found this part a bit dry, more suited to where they are now than the opening.
Now I need a new hook. “I sat on the dusty ground with my back against the cool rock wall.” Doesn’t capture a reader quite like “Right next to the earth there is another world which we cannot see or interact with, for this magical world isn’t in the same space we are.”
So why don’t I just rewrite the beginning a bit and use that line? Because it is completely different voice from the rest of the book. That was what was wrong with my opening paragraphs. They weren’t told by my main character, but by a stodgy old history professor or a scientist trying to factual things out. I actually put them in a book my main character reads and have her comment on how dull and dry they are. You have to laugh at your mistakes, right?
After spending the past month agonizing over my opening chapter I now have new opener. “Ten years ago a portion of the human population wound up on a world of magic.” It’s a bit like my first one, but in the voice of my character. I’m not sure I’m happy with it yet.
What do you think?