The Importance of a Strong Opening

As writers we know how important it is to have a strong opening. Our goal is to grab a reader on the very first page and never let them go. This is often compounded in writing contests where only the first 250 words of a story is often seen, forcing us to make those opening pages as strong as they can possibly be. And it doesn’t stop there, as querying and submitting also require that strong start.

Writers talk a lot about starting a story in the right spot, often the inciting incident, and not going too heavy on back story. Or clichés like first days of school or looking in the mirror. There are a ton of rules out there, they all aim to help newer writers create an opening that pops.

Sometimes we need the reminder of why.

I brought a book home from the library to read to my young son. It had a subject matter I thought would resonate with him. The book has no pictures, even though he prefers them, so I was a little worried how he would respond.

I brought the book to bedtime and told him this was what we were reading. Now, this is a kid who is strong willed, he likes what he likes and he wants to do what he wants, but he sat nearby as I started to read.

This story opened with the main character doodling on a piece of paper during school. My kid is an avid doodler and he instantly perked up. By the time I finished the very first paragraph he was sitting next to me, leaning on my arm, and said, “This is cool!”

I read one chapter to him that night. He read a second (slightly above his reading level, mind you) on his own after I left.

All because that first paragraph grabbed him.

This is what we want as writers. No matter what category or genre we write, we want our readers hooked by the first page and eager to keep reading and devouring the story. If this book hadn’t started with the main character doodling, if it had started with the life history up to now, my kid might have listened, played with a toy, and not picked it back up on his own. Some stories do need a slower build up, but regardless of buildup you need to make the reader care.

The next time you’re struggling with your opening, think of this story. Will the first paragraph snag a potentially reluctant reader? In all truth, it won’t grab everyone, that’s life in the reading world. But will it grab the one who needs it?

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Romance Cares Giveaway

I am thrilled to be part of this giveaway providing relief for those affected by the recent hurricanes and earthquakes. Read on to find out how you can help and win free romances!

Romance Cares (FINAL GRAPHIC)

~*~*~ ROMANCE CARES GIVEAWAY! ~*~*~

Rachel Lacey and Mia Sosa have teamed up with over 30 romance authors to offer you a special giveaway, in light of the recent natural disasters that have affected parts of the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean Islands. To enter, just email us at romancecares@gmail.com showing proof of a donation (please remove sensitive information) to disaster relief efforts, and you will receive 1 or more free ebooks – chosen at random – from a list of books from participating authors. Some people will even receive an entire series! 🙂 Please help us spread the word by sharing this giveaway on social media using the hashtag #romancecares.

Our hearts and thoughts are with everyone who’s been affected. ❤

Entry Details:
1. Please email romancecares@gmail.com by Friday, October 13th showing proof of a donation to disaster relief dated between August 1 and October 13, 2017.
2. In your email, please indicate your preference of Kindle or Nook copies for your gifted ebooks.
3. If you’ve already read any of the books included in the giveaway, please let us know in your email, and we’ll do our best to gift you a book or books you haven’t read yet.

 

Our Awesome Participating Authors:
Laurie Benson – An Unexpected Countess
Jennifer Bernard – Setting Off Sparks
Marnee Blake – Altered
Asa Maria Bradley – Viking Warrior Rising
Laura Brown – Friend (With Benefits) Zone
Celeste Castro – Homecoming
Olivia Dade – Ready to Fall
Alexis Daria – Take the Lead
Jen Doyle – Calling It
Kate Forest – Interior Design and Other Emotions
Calista Fox – His Angel of Starlight Bend
Megan Frampton – the Dukes Behaving Badly series
Codi Gary – Crazy for You
Mia Hopkins – Cowboy Rising and Cowboy Karma
April Hunt – Hard Justice
Ryvr Jones – Shadow and Bones
L.J. LaBarthe – The Archangel Chronicles (complete 9 book set)
Rachel Lacey – Crash and Burn
Ruby Lang – Hard Knocks
Jessica Linden – Fight For Me
Tracey Livesay – the Shades of Love series and the In Love with a Tycoon series
J.L. Lora – Boss
Sarah MacLean – the Scandal and Scoundrel series
Kelly Maher – The Bridesmaid and the Hurricane
Tif Marcelo – North to You
Liz Maverick – The Transporter
Harper Miller – The Sweetest Taboo
Steph Nuss – the Love in the City series
Priscilla Oliveras – His Perfect Partner
Tamsen Parker – Rogue Desire and In Her Court
Annie Rains – Forbidden Kisses
Sara Rider – Going for the Goal
Lydia San Andres – A Summer for Scandal
Susan Scott Shelley – Making His Move
Sabrina Sol – Delicious Satisfaction
Mia Sosa – Acting on Impulse
Elisabeth Staab – Losing the Fight
Mia West – Marked by Fire
Tara Wyatt – Dirty Boxing

 

 

For more details, check out the sites of the two who started this wonderful giveaway: http://www.miasosa.com/romance-cares-giveaway/ and http://www.rachellacey.com/romance-cares-giveaway/