Something we all hear early on when we’re starting out writing is to have a great first line/paragraph/page and it makes sense. From editors to readers we know we need to hook them on that first page. People are busy and we want them to read on.
For me it’s usually a lot of pre-thinking, waiting until I have a start I’m happy with before writing. Then it’s all about the re-writing and listening to advice from those trusted first readers.
Unfortunately there’s no one perfect solution for a great first page and it’s one of those ‘know it when you see it’ things but there are a few ways to help make the magic happen.
- Make it interesting.
- Try to raise a question that will make the reader keep reading to find the answer. It doesn’t have to be a big question but we need to care about the answer.
- This one is personal preference but I prefer to meet a character straight away who I want to know more about.
- Write a first page that makes you want to read on yourself. You’re your first reader.
Remember that first page is a promise, it sets the tone for the rest of the book and if you don’t follow through it will break the reader’s trust.
The wonderful thing is that you don’t have to get it right first time. Be willing to cut and polish to make that first page shine.
Freshly Squeezed is running a great contest for aspiring authors to get feedback on their first page. Take a look here: