Openings.  They’re hard.  “You have to grab the reader in the first sentence.”  “If you haven’t gotten the reader’s attention in the first three pages, you’ve lost them.”  “The first three chapters are all you’ve got.  If you can’t take the reader by storm in the beginning, the you aren’t going to keep them reading.”

No pressure, hah!  That’s heaps of pressure!

Many times when I sit down to open a book my brain will go blank, because I’m trying to come up with a knock-their-socks-off opening.  Here’s how I get around it:

I don’t try to start at the beginning.  Another piece of advice is, “get into the action as late as possible, and get out as early as possible.”  So when writing, if I see a scene but not the opening, I don’t worry about the setup.  I get into the scene and write what I do see.  In the process, I usually come up with an opening – or I worry about it during edits.

What about you, Dear Reader?
What advice do you like about starting new projects?

6 thoughts on “O Is For… Opening!

  1. A huge thing for me, whether I want to write or clean or garden, is to not over think things. For years, I have stared at a crumbling little retaining wall around one of my flower beds. I doubted still having the strength to fix it myself and kept putting off on the expenditure. Then yesterday, I got down on my kneeling pad and just started digging. Unbelievably, half the perimeter has been fixed after a mere forty-five minutes! Sigh… Excellent writing advice, by the way.

  2. I can totally relate with you! I often find that jobs which I procrastinate get finished a lot faster than I assume they will. 🙂 Thank god for 30/30.

    I can't wait to see the new area that you spruced up!

  3. The important part is to start the wriitng, not where in the story. Sometimes, when you get a better feel for the characters and plot- it comes easier

  4. Hi, Rachel! I like that advice. Just start with where you are. 🙂

  5. It's a puzzlement. Write a great first sentence, write three chapters that hook your reader, which can block the progress of a novel. I have finally learned that rewriting can fix all things, so don't let such things keep you from starting your work.

  6. Great advice, Stepheny! I love that line, "rewriting can fix things." Very true.

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