As a newbie writer, you might be wondering about how to jot down a great first line that will be so good that you will fully entice the reader to read the entire book – one chapter after another.
Sometimes, if your first line is incredibly good, you might craft an entire story around that line even though, in the beginning, you might not know anything at all about the characters, setting, and plot. But, the first line might be so good that you couldn’t stop yourself from discovering more about the type of story that you could lay bare in front of your readers.
So, ideally, your first line of the story should make the readers want to know more.
Also, your first line should induce a great sense of theme, conflict, and character – or any combination. What is even more important – the first line should make your readers ask questions. Your aim should be to create a first line that should push the readers to read the second line.
And if you are confused about how to get the first line right – we recommend reading on to learn more about the essential ingredients that make a powerful first line. For your first story, you can also avail yourself of the best ghostwriters, such as the UK ghostwriters, to make your writing task much easier.
Nonetheless, here is the list of tips that will help you create a great first line.
Start with a Question
Now the first step that we have for you is to use a question as a potent ingredient in the first line. The question should stir curiosity in the reader’s mind. They think that they need to know what is about to happen next – in the subsequent line.
You should put the question in such a way that the reader will want to know more about the unfolding event. A question can also form from an oddity, which is most evident in the famous novel “1984” written by George Orwell.
The oddity of the first line is that it refers to the clock to be striking thirteen. Understandably, the readers will be thrilled to learn more about this odd statement. The reference to “striking thirteen” instantly catches the reader’s attention, and they know something is not right in the story.
Apart from using the element of an oddity in the first sentence, you might as well want to raise questions through a conflict. The conflict happens inside a character’s mind or between two characters.
However, if you use conflict in the first line, you should know that conflict can also take on several other forms, such as crime, misdeed, arson, murder, arrest, and so on.
Simply put – you can display a character doing something that they aren’t supposed to do. Perhaps you want to describe how a character is caught in a messed-up situation in your first line. Writing an opening line with a character stuck in something illegal or taboo will surely generate loads of questions in the reader’s mind.
By opening your story with something sinister unfolding, you are promising your readers future trouble, which will instigate their curiosity, and they will want to know what the trouble is all about. Naturally, the readers will want to continue reading to find the answers.
Another way to write a good first line is by introducing characters – often, the first line can introduce the protagonist’s name. Although this is a relatively simpler introduction, you might want to aim at having an interesting name followed by the question of the main character getting themselves into a messy situation in the first place.
You might as well initiate the first line of your story by highlighting the rarest qualities of your protagonists. When it comes to writing a good first line, you might want to aim at a character introduction to convey the tone of the narrative voice.
This way – instead of introducing the main character, your first line might direct the spotlight on an important secondary character instead. This way, the readers will get a glimpse of the narrator’s voice as well as imagine the character’s appearance.
You can also start your story with a sweeping statement about a universal truth – the theme of your story.
By setting a theme in the first line, you can create a memorable opener – your readers will instantly know the story’s key theme. And even if your theme is crude, such as the futility of life, you should know that using curse words in the first line can also grab the reader’s attention.
By using curse words or a touch of ridicule – you can integrate humor and set the narrative tone for your story. Nonetheless, if you choose to open the story with a line that summarizes your theme, you should be mindful of echoing cliché statements, such as “love wins.”
On the other hand, you should aim at conveying striking, surprising, funny, and wittily worded truths. You might as well want to look up some of the classic books of all time for reference.
Integrate Imagery in the First Line
Imagery is an amazing technique that many writers use to attract the reader’s attention.
This way, the opening sentence might include a description of the setting or an important item. Oftentimes, the kind of imagery the authors use is. Help generate a certain mood. Depending on the genre, you might want to integrate a haunting yet cinematic image as an opening.
This way, you will invite your readers into the scene – as if they are right there in the moment with the narrator. How you integrate imagery in your first line might enable the readers to sense that your story will be a more descriptive type of novel.
Nonetheless, it isn’t mandatory for the setting to be overly descriptive, which is typical for a larger setting. Depending on the theme of your story, you might as well describe a close-up shot of a specific object – ideally, one that envelops the essence of your story.