While searching the web, I stumbled across an article from The Atlantic called “Why Stephen King Spends ‘Months and Even Years’ Writing Opening Sentences.” I was stunned. I figured a writer as prolific as King could turn out first sentences like Apple turns out new editions of the iPhone, but I guess not.
It makes sense, though, as the opening lines of any body of work are incredibly important. The starting sentences are what draw the reader in and want to continue to read your story. As King says in The Atlantic article, “An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story. It should say: Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this.”
So how does a writer achieve this enticing invitation? Is there some magical formula that guarantees a solid opening? Unfortunately, probably not, at least not one that has been discovered yet anyway. However, there are definitely some methods to helping construct the first lines successfully.
Writer’s Digest lays out “7 Ways To Create a Killer Opening Line For Your Novel,” and as a starting writer myself, I have to say that I found the list to be incredibly helpful. For example, one piece of advice I thought was incredibly helpful was starting with a “statement of simple fact.” Writing doesn’t have to be super complicated or intense to draw a reader in; sometimes, sheer simplicity will do the trick.
Definitely check out the links listed above to get some more advice about opening lines if you find yourself stuck, and remember not to get too frustrated with yourself if you are struggling. Writing can be an excruciating endeavor, and it has nothing to do with your ability to write.
Good luck, and happy writing!