Thursday, October 15, 2009

In The Beginning There Was...

There is a first paragraph contest going on at Nathan Bransford's blog this week. Yesterday, Nathan followed up with a discussion of what makes a good first paragraph of a novel. For me, I think that a first paragraph should convey voice and theme and immediately ground the reader. I read some of the comments at Nathan's blog, and I love what this person, Mark Cecil, wrote. His name wasn't clickable, so I haven't gotten the okay to post this, so I hope he doesn't mind.

Mark Cecil said...
A feeling that the author is going to take care of you. To lead you along. That he is saying: here is what my story is going to be about. Here is how I'm going to tell it. Relax. You're in my hands now. We will have ups and downs, we will have surprises and dissapointments, but i will lead you through it all, like a guide in a strange land.

So, what do you think makes for a good opening?

8 comments:

  1. Hm. I entered my zit popping first paragraph. Not sure what that says about where I will lead you. ;-)

    But yes, a first paragraph is important as that's about all I will read in a book I'm considering purchasing. If that doesn't grab me, it goes back on the shelf.

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  2. I read that one as well and also thought it was a great description.

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  3. Sarah--I think that it says that you will lead us to the kid side of humor. Not always a pretty place, but definitely funny!

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  4. Heather, that one caught my eye, as well! I really like that.

    I also agreed with the numerous people who said that there really is no great 1st para formula. And that a great paragrapch doesn't mean a great novel.

    *sigh* never an easy answer...

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  5. Book of Matches Media-- Yes, I was glad that Mark posted his thoughts early on-- I don't have the comment stamina to read past the first 25 or so on Nathan's blog.

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  6. Larissa-- I think it's good, though, when there isn't one right way--writing should be about creativity and trying new directions.

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  7. I just want it to entertain me or hint at future entertainment.

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  8. Paul--I agree. Entertaining the audience is key. And not as simple as it sounds.

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