The only important thing I’ve ever learned from writing essays in high school is that an ‘attention getter’ is crucial. If your first sentence isn’t worth reading then neither is the rest of your writing.
You have to strike your readers with something enthralling!
In my own novels, I tend to choose a funnier approach that will enlighten my readers on the type of writer I am.
If you take a look at the first-ten-page-sample of my novel, The Little Paragons, you can see what I mean. The first sentence of my prologue is, “Prologues suck”. Then, the first sentence of Chapter One is, “I can’t play video games for the rest of my life”.
Both instances confuse the reader and draw them in. Honestly, what isn’t interesting about a novel that has a prologue, but then calls prologues stupid? Not to toot my own prideful horn, but seriously, I’m a genius…NOT.
A friend of mine once began a piece he was writing with the phrase, “Oh shit”. As soon as I saw that, I thought, “Uh… ‘oh shit’, what? What’s happening?!”
Even the sequel I’m writing to The Little Paragons begins with an odd phrase: “I once had a genie that would grant me any wish”.
There are many different ways you can get people’s attention, as you probably remember from high school, so you can experiment. Plus, with freelance writing you have a lot more power to go for gold with your attention getter.
I usually like letting the first sentence be a big moment for the story. In my first book it shows the reader what kind of writer I am. In the second book it connects the reader to the first book.
You can choose your own methods of getting a readers attention, but just be bold about it. Don’t slink into the woodwork and begin your novel like an amateur YA novel.
For example, the first sentence doesn’t always have to begin by telling the reader how old or beautiful your character is. If you want to say the main character’s name first off, go for it, but honestly you could do better.
If you go read some free YA ebooks, I’m sure you’ll get the jist of what a bad first sentence is. Of course, I’m NOT saying that all free YA books are terrible. I’m just reminding you that not all of them deserve to make it big in the world.
Meanwhile, happy writing, reading, and Thursday.