How is your opening line?


May, 2017

Opening Line
Cover Art

You’re browsing books and the cover art of one book catches your eye. You pick it up and read the blurb on the back cover and it sounds like something you’d like to read. You open to the first chapter which begins, “It was a dark and stormy night.” Or maybe “Once upon a time…”

At that point, most people would close the book and put it back on the shelf.

What if the first line were, “I hadn’t planned on dying today.” Or “The noose snapped at my neck and the world went black.” I just made these two up as I was writing this, so if these are the actual opening lines of books, it is purely coincidental.

A great opening line doesn’t guarantee a great story. However, a bad opening line will guarantee a seldom-read book. Once you get their attention with the opening line, deliver on that promise. Use the opening paragraph to pull them in deeper. The first chapter needs to seal the deal.

Cover art matters a lot more than most people realize. The blurb on the back cover or on the web page for ebooks matters. The opening line of the story matters. Grab them by the eyes with your cover. Pique their curiosity with your blurb. Grab them by the imagination with your opening line, first paragraph, and first chapter, and don’t let go.