Writing Awesome First Pages

This week on Hide and create, Jordan Ellinger, Diana Rowland, Moses Siregar and Joshua Essoe talk about writing kick-butt openings.

There are plenty of good guidelines and rules — don’t start with dialogue, give the entire novel in the first sentence, give yourself a focus for the scene, intro your character with a name, don’t start with an info dump, don’t start with someone waking or dreaming . . .

But writing a good first page, a good first line, is more than that. To quote Stephen King, “To get scientific about it is a little like trying to catch moonbeams in a jar.”

Here are ways to make your Jar of Moonbeam Catching.

3 thoughts on “Writing Awesome First Pages

  1. I don’t know if this is a great opening, but it strikes me as a very good example of opening with a setting. It hits or hints at a number of the prevalent themes of the larger work right in the first sentence:

    “Gormengast, that is the main massing of the original stone, taken by itself wold have displayed a certain ponderous architectural quality were it possible to have ignored the circumfusion of those mean dwellings that swarmed like an epidemic around its outer walls.”

    There is heaviness, decay, disease, faded glory…and lots of well used multisylablic words signaling that what follows is not for the intellectually timid…for whom such erudition as “ponderous” and “circumcision” sound like the the warning of Illidan in the cinematic prologue to the Burning Crusade, “You are not prepared!”

  2. This episode couldn’t have come along at a better time. I’ve started the second draft of my novel. Even after revising the first scene, I knew there was still something wrong with it. This episode made me realize what the REAL opening should be. I shaved off about six paragraphs from the opening and came up with a much better first line. Of course, it remains to be seen whether it survives the revisions/beta reading/editing to come! Thanks for all the great tips, guys. Keep up the good work!

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