This is an interesting article for me, as I'm reworking the first chapter of one of my books. I had what I thought was a great opening scene, but it lacked any kind of interest and urgency; it was basically two guys talking in a coffee shop. I changed it so that the first scene was the main character delivering a monologue to the reader, but that didn't seem to be a good opening either. I finally changed it so that it looked as if the main character was investigating a crime scene ... and he was the murderer. Worked much better, and I hope it's something that will get more reaction for the reader.

Here's an example of good first opening page:

A Powerful Opener

The power of the opening line or paragraph cannot be overstated. These are the first words a reader will see, so that paragraph can serve many purposes, like introducing the world, characters, or plot while giving readers an attention-grabbing taste of your writing.

For example, the opening lines of Kerry Kletter's The First Time She Drowned use unique imagery and prose to suggest a deeper emotional storyline: "My mother wore the sun like a hat. It followed her as we did, stopping when she stopped, moving when she moved. She carried her beauty with the naïveté of someone who was born to it and thus never understood its value or the poverty of ugliness."

(via authornews.penguinrandomhouse.com)


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D. H. McKee is a writer and contemporary abstract artist.

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