Grab ‘Em by the Eyeballs: Writing Memorable Openings

Ever wonder how to strike your audience dead from the very first sentence? Unlike this introduction, fantastic writing starts with a hook that kicks the audience in the pants and leaves them begging for more.

Awesome notetaking, Clark Kent, but how do we write better openings than yours?

Workshoppers at “Write Killer Openings” in the Hyatt Marietta at 1PM Thursday started their Dragon Con weekend off by writing an introduction on the spot and having it critiqued in front of the group by Lee Martindale.

Openings are your one chance to capture the readers’ attention and keep them wanting more. One way to do that is by starting in the middle of a scene during the action. To do that, craft a first line that is short, attention grabbing, and gives away something, but only enough to tease. One recurring point of the workshop was that sometimes that first line isn’t written first. It may be written later, so if you’re stuck, write on and you may write that killer hook into life.

Start with a punch, but not a ton exposition. Set up a hint of the action, characters, and setting that entices the reader to continue with the story. There’s plenty of time to set the scene on page two or even chapter two. In the beginning, even if what you’re writing is critical to the storyline, the reader won’t stay if it’s dull.

Ready to read examples of extraordinary openings and chapter cliffhangers? Martindale suggested checking out a few of Jim Butcher’s books.

In the end, you know you’ve reached the pinnacle of writing-hood when the audience can’t sleep from wanting to devour the next page.

Author of the article

Not everyone can say they watch television for homework, read novels for inspiration, and are paid to follow what’s trending. For Alicia Pack, it is all part of life as a writer and media enthusiast.  When she isn't lost in the world she is trying to create, you can find her with her nose in a book or catching up on her favorite supernatural shows.  She has a Master’s degree in Mass Communications and a Bachelor’s degree in Radio, Television, and Film.  Her nine years of diverse media experience include news writing, copywriting, website content management, social media, promotions, television production, and teaching.