The first line of your story is like meeting someone for the first time. It's a moment that sets the tone and you either want to continue the acquaintance, or you don't. Here are some suggestions for how to make that lasting first impression.
1. Intrigue with a Mystery
An opening line that poses a question or presents a mystery can draw readers in, prompting them to seek answers. For example, "I was arrested on the morning of my third wedding."
2. Introduce a Unique Character
A compelling character, introduced upfront, can captivate a reader's imagination. For example, "Emily Watson had been a problem to the town for over sixty years."
3. Set the Stage with a Setting
A vivid depiction of a scene or setting can instantly transport readers to your story's world. For example, "The village sat at the foot of a mountain that no one had ever crossed."
4. Dive into Action
Starting with a bang, literally or figuratively, can jolt readers into the narrative. For example, "The moment the gunshot rang out, every person in the square turned their head."
5. Offer a Philosophical Insight
An opening line that points to a universal truth can be a hook into the story ahead. For example, "Every happy family is alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
6. Use Striking Imagery
An image painted with words can linger in readers' minds, establishing mood and tone. For example, "Clouds released torrents of hail into the wild wind."
7. Employ Dialogue
A piece of dialogue can show character dynamics or conflict right from the start. For example, "If I don't go now, I might never leave!"
Tips for Crafting that Perfect Line
Keep it Genuine: Your opening should be a true reflection of your core story. Avoid clickbait tactics that don't follow-through into the story.
Revise, Revise, Revise: Often, the perfect opening line is a result of numerous revisions. Keep refining until it feels just right.
Test on Readers: Share your opening line with friends, writing groups, or mentors. Fresh eyes can offer invaluable insights.
Invest time in crafting your opening line but don't feel you have to perfect it before you start writing the story itself - you can come back at any time to work on it.