Writing Prompt: Your opening line

One of the most important things you can do to engage a reader is to grab them with the first line. It is the initial impression that will attract a reader’s attention and keep them hooked. By starting your story with a powerful opening you accomplish several things. You establish scene, mood, theme and point of view. Although it is important to grab the reader, it does not necessarily follow that the first line has to be about something extraordinary. Sometimes, it is a casual statement, merely be being the first one to appear is intriguing enough.

For instance, try 2 exercises:

1. Draft about half a dozen opening lines. How powerful can you make a single sentence and persuade the reader to continue?

2. Create a short narrative from one of the following, make the ordinary extraordinary be turning a simple statement into the basis for action.

– The cat sat on the mat.

– I don’t like trains.

– He sat on the front porch with his arms folded across his chest as he waited for the post to arrive.

– As she opened the window and looked across the bay, she saw a man holding onto the rail of the bridge preparing to jump.

– As the fire engine sped through the narrow streets of Edinburgh, those still trapped inside the lift of 135 George Street began to argue.

– On the smooth rosewood desk in his wife’s office, Patrick spotted an unfamiliar book on whose cover read the words, my diary.

Writing Prompt: Your opening line

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