The First Paragraph

Welcome to another Wednesday! And thank you for inviting me into your life. I’m glad to be here, and I value your friendship. Snow is in the forecast for Central Pennsylvania. I guess it’s that time of year. There’s nothing we can do about it, so let’s get on with some quality time.

Our topic for today, The First Paragraph, applies to all writing but especially to fiction writing. We all know, if you don’t grab ‘em in the first few sentences, you probably won’t get your reader back. It’s imperative we have a good opening line. So how do we accomplish that? Let me share four thoughts.

1. Begin with action. I’m not saying it has to be a knock-down, drag-out fight, but give your audience a sense they are in the middle of something. Stay away from backstory and setting. Weave that in as the story grows.

2. Introduce your main character early. Generally, he/she should be the first character introduced. Allow your opener to focus on him/her and set the tone for the rest of the story. I’m a stickler for names. Be sure to name your characters appropriately.

3. Don’t describe; layer in. Whether it’s setting or backstory or present action, don’t simply describe it, but reveal it a little at a time. Your reader will thank you as they subconsciously take in the details.

4. Show, Don’t Tell. We have certainly been through this before, but as in number three, don’t just give statements or facts. Allow your audience to see what is happening, not just hear about it.

Well, it’s time to prepare for the coming storm, so I gotta go. Enjoy your week. I’ll see you in seven!


6 thoughts on “The First Paragraph

  1. I read your post on Hubpages about “What’s a Man to do?” I reblogged it on one of my “Men Victims” post. Thank you for sharing! If you get a few minutes, please resend me the link because I’d like to share it some more.

    Also, I tried commenting on a few of your Hubpage posts and I see no place to do this. I’ve had this problem with commenting on Hubpage posts since they updated it a couple years ago.


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