Every story has its beginning. But people who’ve read my books know that I like to start somewhere in the middle, where things are already in motion. That way the story can immediately pull you in. Or spit you out. Both ways are good. Why? Because I’m losing readers after the first few pages (lines) and I don’t allow them to stick around, feeling bad and give up halfway through.
Why am I doing this? Because I’m a decent human being.
As a reader, the opening line just has to impress me. Seriously, I buy books because of the first sentence. I don’t even have to know what the story is about. If you hooked me with your opening line, I’m yours.
On the night of September 26, 1983, the world almost ended. (The Army of None, Paul Scharre)
I firmly believe that if you can write a good opening sequence, you’re a good writer. Sure, you can screw up the rest of the story, ending included. But still. If you’re the master of opening lines, you have the potential for greatness.
It’s OK to have a mediocre opening, but you better make sure that your first paragraph stands out. I understand that there are a lot of writers who like to build up their stories. Nothing wrong with that. If it’s not my cup of tea, it doesn’t mean that other people dislike it too.
What about my opening lines? Let’s see…
They came for them like an avalanche comes for its prey. Suddenly, systematically, and without remorse. (They Named Him Primo)
For breakfast, I devoured my pride along with a dry chocolate croissant on the side. (You Only Die Once)
Fourteen minutes. Fourteen fucking minutes to go and there is nothing I can do. (720 Heartbeats)
Pretty good, right?
I’d like to hear your opinions on the matter. Let me know what you think in the comments. Thanks.