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Make an Impression – Writing your First Line

Writing your book is brave. Writing its first line is even braver.

There is no other way to describe it. From the moment your audience opens your book, you need to hook them in and that can be daunting. This is your first opportunity to hook readers in.

That’s why the first line of your book can be quintessential is making it a must read. Check out some of our favourite ways to capture your audience from the get go.

To state a principle

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

And with those immortal words, Jane Austen worked her way into the heart of an audience. From the first line, Pride and Prejudice shows us the wit and satire that is sprinkled throughout its pages. It gives audience an expectation as to what to expect. It confirms what the book is about and how the characters in the book view the world.

To note a simple fact

The entire narrative of a novel can be held in one sentence. In Ray Bradbury’s seminal classic, Fahrenheit 451, the first line reads “It was a pleasure to burn”. It is a simple and effective means of introducing us to the everyday lives of characters in this dystopian world and their beliefs.

 To introduce voice

Stories that begin with a highly unusual voice often withhold other craft elements for a few sentences. The reader may need to adjust to a new form of language before being able to absorb much in the way of content.

To establish mood

Contextual information can set the tone for what is to come in the rest of the novel, without mention of plot or dialogue.

To serve as a narrative frame

Sometimes, the best way to begin a story is to announce that you’re about to tell a story. Think of Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, which begins by stating “All this happened, more or less.”

At Selfpublishbooks.ie, we’re happy to help find the perfect first line for your book, with a range of editing and publishing packages to suit your needs. Contact us for more information on how to take your novel from pen to paper.

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