Welcome to a new week! As promised, here is part 2 of my series looking at openings. First, let me start by saying You guys are all SO SMART.
On Tuesday, we took a look at a variety of opening lines and I asked the question “did it hook you and why”. I was hoping that your answers would help point out the necessary parts that make up a strong opening. And you didn’t disappoint. While you definitely had varying opinions as to which of the lines were strong and which were not, you guys all pointed out the various pieces of an opening that seem to make the difference.
Let’s start with the common threads:
- Everyone stated that openings aren’t the “end all, be all” they are made out to be – and I would have to agree with that. To the average reader, opening means a lot more than the first line or the first paragraph. In fact, if you were to ask most readers, they would tell you that they expect it will take thirty pages or so to get into the book.
- Most of you want to be intrigued somehow by those first lines – you want to be pulled into the story pretty quickly. I think this is particularly true based on the genre you write. There seems to be a little more leeway for literary fiction, for example, than mystery or young adult genres. My personally opinion is that the opening of a book should suck me in and make me want to know more – especially in our current culture. Most average readers don’t have the time or inclination to wade through a bunch of backstory to see if we like whats going on enough to finish the book.
- We all had varied opinions regarding the actual opening presented and whether or not we were hooked – showing just how subjective this process really can be.
Overall, I think an opening needs to have a believable situation, unfolded somewhat quickly that instantly pulls the reader in and makes them want to know more. I know, that is a tall order.
So what were those openings from, anyways. Here you go, a list of the authors of the openings… some may be a surprise, some not.
- Mine, from WiP. It is rough, as many of you noted.
- ECLIPSEby Robert North Patterson. Although a lot of you didn’t like the opening, let me assure you – he book is fantastic. Come by on Friday for a review
- FRAGILE ETERNITYby Melissa Marr. Mixed reviews on this opening, as many f you knew which book this was.
- DA VINCI CODE by Dan Brown. It was interesting hearing you responses
- BURNING ALIVE by Shannon K Butcher. I read this after going to her book signing. She definitely has talent for romance writing. I, personally, loved her opening.
- AGENT OF CHAOS by yours truly.
- HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWSby JK Rowling. Need I say more.
- THE TALL STONES by Moyra Caldecott – on a side note, I picked this one because it has a large bearing on why I write. I read it when I was 12 or so and I remember thinking, “hey, maybe I could write”. Then I met the author and part of me fantasized about being an author from that point on – though I never acted on that idea until very recently.
- THE DANGEROUS DAYS OF DANIEL X – by James Patterson. Not your ordinary Patterson, this is more a long the lines of the Max series. His opening made me laugh.
And now for the fun part – the winner. I picked a winner using the high-tech version of drawing names from a hat…Random.org. They are awesome for these kinds of contests. Using them I drew Eden Tyler. WOO HOO!!!
Join me next month for another comment contest. These are so fun I am going to try to do one every month.