Setting the Hook: The Importance of the Opening Scene
Happy October, fellow readers! What better way to kick off the first official month of Fall than with a post discussing the opening scene of your book. In a previous post, I discussed how much relevance I believe that book titles and books covers play in getting your story off the book shelf and into the hands of readers. I would venture to say that one of the major factors in keeping it in a reader’s hand is the opening scene.
I have just under 100 pages of my novel written, and I would estimate that I have rewritten or tweaked the opening scene at least six times. It is a novel’s first impression, a store window glimpse into the story.
As a book addict, once I begin a book, I’m going to finish it. I’ve come across books that didn’t start off well, but were phenomenal reads once they were up and running. And I’ve spent hours trying to convince people who threw in the towel on these late bloomers to give them a second chance! But what truly compares to a book that steals your compliance from the first page? That buzz of anticipation you feel when you realize that this journey of the imagination is shaping up to be a great one.
Opening scenes are our sales pitch to the reader; they help solidify the continuation of the journey. In most cases, an opening scene will introduce us to the setting or the protagonist. But that alone might not be enough to ‘set the hook’ to keep the story going. I suggest starting with a problem; setting the tone with a conflict that will resonate at the heart of your story. Some of my favorite novels have started in medias res.
What are some of your favorite or memorable opening scenes?