Just watch it you won’t regret it. I promise.
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I need to keep reblogging this hot piece of clothing. ohgod. One day I swear.
Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned,
Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.
1. Don’t open before the beginning.
Mystery author William G. Tapley points out, “Starting before the beginning… means loading up your readers with background information they have no reason to care about.” Don’t dump your backstory—however vital to the plot—into your reader’s lap right away. No one wants to hear someone’s life story the moment after they meet them.
2. Open with characters, preferably the protagonist.
Even the most plot-driven tales inevitably boil down to characters. The personalities that inhabit your stories are what will connect with readers. If you fail to connect with them right off the bat, you can cram all the action you want into your opening, but the intensity and the drama will still fall flat.
3. Open with the hook.
Every story begins with a hook, the first domino, which, when knocked over, starts the chain of dominoes tumbling. This catalyst is the moment your story officially begins, and, presumably, it’s also the first moment of high interest. Use that to your advantage and get right to the point.
4. Open with conflict.
No conflict, no story. Conflict doesn’t always mean nuclear warheads going off, but it does demand that your characters be at odds with someone or something right from the get go. Conflict keeps the pages turning, and turning pages are nowhere more important than in the beginning.
5. Open with movement.
Openings need more than action, they need motion. Motion gives readers a sense of progression and, when necessary, urgency. Whenever possible, open with a scene that allows your characters to keep moving, even if they’re just walking down the street.
6. Open with something that makes the reader ask a question.
Unanswered questions fuel intrigue; intrigue keeps the reader’s interest. If you can present a situation that immediately has your reader asking questions, you’ve significantly upped the odds that he’ll keep reading.
7. Anchor the reader to avoid confusion.
As a caveat to #6, make sure you have your readers asking the right questions. You want to give them enough information so they can ask intelligent, informed questions, not “What the heck is going on here?!” As soon as possible, anchor them with the pertinent facts: who the characters are, what the current dilemma is, etc.
8. Establish the setting.
Modern authors are often shy of opening with description, but a quick, incisive intro of the setting not only serves to ground the reader in the physicality of the story, but also to hook their interest and set the stage. In Worlds of Wonder,David Gerrold explains that opening lines “that hook you immediately into the hero’s dilemma almost always follow the hook with a bit of stage setting” and vice versa.
9. Orient the reader with an “establishing” shot.
Anchoring the reader can often be done best by taking a cue from the movies and opening with an “establishing” shot. If done skillfully, you can present the setting and the characters’ positions in it in as little as a sentence or two.
10. Set the tone.
Because your opening chapter sets the tone for your entire story, you need to give the reader accurate presuppositions about the type of tale he’s going to be reading. Your beginning needs to set the stage for the inevitable denouement—without, of course, giving it away.
Following at least a few of these tips will definitely create a great beginning!