Super Structure represents over two decades of research on what makes a novel or screenplay entertaining, commercial, original, and irresistible.
Initially, I had only planned on skimming a few pages, but the first line hooked me. Before long, I was finishing the last page. Photo by Nawal Al-Mashouq Creative Commons Great first lines have that power, the power to entice your reader enough that it would be unthinkable to set the book down.
How, then, do you write the perfect first line? Want to become a writer? Get our free step guide to becoming a writer here and accomplish your dream today.
Click here to download your guide instantly. This post is about what makes great first lines great. Note that some of these lines are a bit longer than one sentence. Instead, I think of them as the first idea. Great first lines instantly invite us into an image.
The candleflame and the image of the candleflame caught in the pierglass twisted and righted when he entered the hall and again when he shut the door. The light from a candle being reflected and twisted by a door. All the Pretty Horses, No Country for Old Men, The Road is that his writing is so cinematic, focusing on seemingly small details to invite us into the lives of his fascinating characters.
Great first lines, like the opening montage of a film, lead us into a scene. They use images, lighting, and tone to set the mood that the rest of the opening pages will take.
Voice is the peculiar vocabulary, tone, and phrasings our characters use. Notice how conversational this is. The remarkable thing about a unique voice is that it can be just as vivid as description.
Voice can spark your imagination to create whole worlds. So many of these examples of great first lines are surprising. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
Alter the way time is tracked. Snakes are an easy way to surprise your reader. It was a picture of a boa constrictor in the act of swallowing an animal.
Here is a copy of the drawing. Want to create surprise? Apparently you should begin your story with someone dying as three of our examples do. Perfect First Lines Are Funny Humor is closely linked with surprise, and great first lines are often very funny.
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.
Of course he must. How could he not? It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness… … and so on. By now, this line has become a truism, but in its day, it was a philosophical reflection on the subjectivity of history and human experience.
Great first lines can do that. Eventually, you have start teaching again. Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. This story is about something that happened to them when they were sent away from London during the war because of the air-raids.7 Steps to Creating Suspense by Joe Bunting | 8 comments Posing a good dramatic question in the minds of your readers is the best way to create suspense and keep people reading.
There are many techniques authors can use to create this build up of suspense. For example, in Edgar Rice Burroughs' novel Tarzan of the Apes, suspense is built through verbal cues.
Further, building in suspense is what is known as a red herring, which is defined as an action, theme, or piece of information intended to lead the reader off track.
These advanced literary techniques help the writer build additional intrigue into the story. Suspense is a critical aspect of writing crime fiction. All the elements outlined below can help to increase suspense over the course of your novel: Suspense arises from conflict. Before you can effectively create suspense throughout your crime novel, you need to have a handle on its central.
Dec 08, · It’s an important technical issue, and not just for so-called suspense novels. Every novel needs a narrative engine, a reason for people to keep reading to the end, whatever the subject, style, genre or approach. Mastering these and other storytelling methods is the key to writing your own engaging tale.
Just as a lion is the product of all the zebras it has eaten, a writer is the product of all the books he or she has read.