♦Welcome to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop!♦
What is the best opening paragraph you’ve written? (inspired by a
comment by Richard) Do you have a favorite one that is different?
Welcome back to another Open Book Blog Hop! The authors included in this ongoing series wish to thank you for your reads. Even more so, we appreciate that you share our writings with friends. If you’re new to the series, welcome aboard. The authors engage and impress weekly. Prepare to become a regular reader.
The start of a book is some of the most difficult writing you’ll undertake. It’s not the hardest, in my estimation, but it is highly important and stressful. However you craft your opener will determine whether a reader will continue reading your work or set it back on the shelf. This small part is referred to as a hook for good reason.
The hook (or lack thereof) could easily make or break a sale as easily as a book blurb. Some readers may give you more time, but that is not the norm. With shortening attention spans, and high expectations for the entertainment they choose, the public will want a great opening paragraph (or line). Hooking them is a big undertaking in small space and all authors have to be able to do it.
Learning the important skill of the start is also an important part of screenwriting. It comes in a couple of forms: economical descriptions and the dreaded log line. Let’s start with the latter. Just like your book blurb, the log line provides the hook for would-be managers and producers (your script readers). Additionally, keep your descriptions concise and short is a great way to win them over.
Economical writing has become the vogue for novels and scripts. You want to cleverly write your story in the most concise and short way possible. Time is your currency in either kind of writing. The less you bog down the reader, the better. However, don’t think that means you should leave out just about everything. The idea is to make sure that what you do include is necessary and precise.
The start of a book is promise of the book blurb or a screenplays logline. It has to payout. If it doesn’t compel them to the next bit, it’s a wooden nickel! That line does a lot of heavy lifting for the entire book.
If you read the line I chose from The Shadow Soul, you’ll see that it supplies a litany of clues for the reader. You know right away that this is a fantasy, possibly science fiction in scope, and likely a bit dark. A reader can surmise that a whole lot of change is going to happen for the characters in these pages, and that the plot will more than likely take them to some pretty epic places. It insinuates the gravity of the pending adventure. There is a taste of a multiverse and the boundaries that keep those worlds apart, likely showing us that the characters are going to need to move past those boundaries.
Hopefully, this line does its job and is as compelling as I felt. What follows is a somewhat thick explanation of how that world was established and interacts with itself. Thick but not long. I recommend not getting bogged down in the formula, as it will unfold in the course of the adventure. Yet, I still felt it necessary to provide a primer. The reader can always return to those pages for review. If left out, then are reader would not have that option.
In many cases, that opener comes well-after the story is manifested on the page. Writing that opening paragraph or line is far easier to accomplish when you know where you’re headed. That harkens back to the way in which loglines and book blurbs come into existence. Think of them as teammates, and you can use them to help you build each of the other pieces. There’s more on log lines and blurb writing here.
Let’s hop on over to the other authors’ responses on this hop. Don’t forget to drop your email in the box on the top right so you can receive this blog hop in your inbox each Friday.