How To Write An Awesome First Paragraph That Makes People Want To Read Your Book

By on June 4, 2016
How To Write An Awesome First Paragraph That Makes People Want To Read Your Book - writerslife.org

The opening of your book is so important. Without a strong opening, regardless of how good the rest of your book may be, you will lose hundreds, or even thousands of readers, who simply won’t get past those first few sentences.

Think about it, when you are in a bookstore looking for a new book to read, how do you choose? Most people, despite perhaps taking more time over the purchasing of books than other goods, still tend to want to make a decision fairly quickly. There are a huge number of books to choose from, so potential readers will make a snap decision as to whether they want to read yours, and if they are not impressed, will move onto the next.

We tend to judge books we are not familiar with by their covers (yes we know!), by the description of the book on the back cover - which, of course, is also a crucial part of getting readers to buy your book, and last but not least, the first few paragraphs, which a reader will read in the bookstore before deciding whether it is worth finding out more.

You first paragraph is vital - you need to make it one that, once read, makes it impossible for readers not to want to know more.

If your opening paragraph doesn’t do this, doesn’t make your readers sit up and pay attention, then they simply won’t be willing to give any more of their time to it, regardless of whether the rest of your story is gripping, mind-blowing, heart-stopping stuff.

So what are the qualities you need to include in your opening paragraph to make it effective?

The books that win readers attention tend to have similar qualities in common.

Firstly, they have purpose. They are bold and command attention. To do this writers need to create powerful pictures in a readers mind, to immediately draw them into the time, the place, and to allow them to immediately feel completely immersed in the story. The pictures should be clear, don’t over complicate or introduce complex ideas, don’t beat around the bush. Be direct, and create a powerful image for the reader straight away.

Secondly, they have drama. Starting in the middle of exciting action is a common device employed in the opening of many great books. However, you don’t necessarily have to do this. You simply need to ensure that the opening paragraph is exciting, that it makes your reader pay attention, feel emotion, and want to find out what happens next.

Finally, make your readers care. This is perhaps the most important point. Those first few sentences need to engage your reader in a way that they feel emotionally invested. Introduce a character that has mystery, intrigue or one that we can’t help but fall in love with right away. The sooner we care, the sooner we develop an emotional attachment, and once that happens we can’t help but read on.

There is so much competition these days that getting your book noticed is crucial for success. Make your opening paragraph count, make it something to be reckoned with, that gets pulses racing or readers laughing, or even breaking their hearts right away. As with any part of writing, perfecting your opening paragraph might take a bit of practice, but just keep writing, revising, and asking for feedback until you have one you know will knock your readers socks off.

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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