One of the things we’re told as writers is to make sure we GRAB the reader on page one, preferably with the first couple of sentences. If we don’t, then there’s a good chance we’ll lose a potential reader. As a writer, I get the importance of opening up with a BANG! Snag the reader and make him/her want to keep reading.
But it’s a challenge for me. I spend a good deal of time writing and rewriting the first few sentences of an opening scene because I have a tendency to over-write. I like to set up the scene. The best advice I’ve heard/read on openings is from Jennifer Crusie. She said during an RWA lecture: Begin where the trouble begins. I try to remember this.
When I’m reading, a story with a bangin’ first page isn’t a requirement. I don’t mind a story that doesn’t explode until page three or five. Some story need to have Pop Rock openings. A bunch of tiny bursts, leading up to the bang. I’m cool with that. Also, what gets me reading and will keep me reading beyond the first few pages is back cover/dust jacket blurb.
Do you struggle with writing grabby openings? If your hooks are sharp, please share some tips. As a reader, how important is a story’s opening? If it doesn’t grab you, do you stop reading or keep on keeping on?