Opening Lines Recommendations for a Fiction Novel

When it comes to starting up your fiction story, you need to pay attention to the first chapter big time. And the opening line of it is as important as all the rest of the book, if not more.

The Opening Line

To get it right with your novel at once (in case this is a fiction novel) you have to capture reader at first sight.

And the first place where reader’s sight falls is surprisingly…the first page of the book!

So, there virtually can be nothing more important in your book, than what you chose to tell on the first page and in the first paragraph of it.

It serves as a reason for your readers to buy your book, for your agent to be optimistic about book prospects and for your publisher or an editor-solicitor to not throw the manuscript down the drain.

So you’d better listen to these tips.

These can help your first chapter shine, and your opening line or a paragraph startle reader.

Which will eventually make them pay money for your artwork.



Advice #1:

Do not be too “psyched” when getting your hands on chapter one.

The most interesting nuance is, that publishers often scare beginner writers with their “get me hooked up from page 1” demands.

My opinion is that too much is never good, so you better hold your horses and not get into “all crazy action” at once.

You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write

Saul Bellow

Advice #2:

Most writers focus solely on the storyline aspect of the novel and often underestimate orther crucial decision.

Which point-of-view will you be using in your first chapter?

Will it be FPV (first person view): an author telling his story?

Or a 3rd person point of view?

It matters because it makes a huge difference on how your first chapter unfolds.



Advice #3:

Picking up a location and the “stage set” for that opening line can be quite a headache.

But still, as these will be your characters and your storyline, analyze their timeline. You should know their stories, as you created them.

So pick up the best situation characters or plot seem natural in.

Regardless of the time or the place of that scene, the dynamics and tone-of-voice (see next tip) matter even more.

Advice #4:

Make trouble. I side with the writing gurus who advise you to put in a lot of conflict early. Pick your trouble and make it big. If it can’t be big at first, make it ominous.

Or, as Mark Twain puts it: “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug”

Shortly, a great Chapter 1 and an opening page are just like eating appetizers while reading a menu in a new restaurant.

If you will like the taste of it, and the menu will promise some unforgettably good meals for you, you will stay there and order the whole lunch, right?

That kind of thing relates to “hooking up” your future readers to your story from the very start.

With a great opening chapter, page and a line!

2 Responses
  1. Thank you! These tips got me going, and my first book is finished. I am already pitching it to publishers!

    1. I never fail to listen to good advice, and this time I’ve learnt a lot from you, Ms Gray…Thanks!

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