The beginning of a book is very important. It’s the starting of a trail that fades off until you can’t see where you’re going to end up. And, if nothing grabs your attention at the beginning, then why take the time to go and explore?
I have to say: The opening sentence of a story isn’t easy for me to come up with. In fact, I rarely find one I’m satisfied with. I do think I’ve gotten better with experience, though.
The first sentence/paragraph of a book is supposed to draw the reader in. It’s supposed to make them ask questions so they’ll continue reading to figure out the answers. It’s supposed to give you a clue of who’s telling/what point of view the story is from. It’s supposed to give a hint of what mood the rest of the book has. It’s supposed to be all-out-amazing. I’m not there yet, but I’m working on it.
Here are some first paragraphs to stories I’ve started in the past. Most of them I look at and I’m like “Naw”, but a few of them seem promising.
Dusk was settling over the countryside as a lone girl made her way along the road. “Natalya, you canʼt give up!” she whispered to herself. Despite the fact that her feet hurt and she was tired from walking all day, Natalya knew she had to keep going. “If I donʼt succeed in my mission, Turglar is doomed.” She pushed her dark hair, curled and frazzled from the humidity, away from her face.
The glow of the stars was pouring down on a little trio as they sat under a tree. A tightly woven blanket spread over them, knitting them together, as their hearts were knit. Grandfather had his arm around Natalya and Natalya rested her head comfortably against him. David sat on the other side of Grandfather, listening intently as Natalya started her story.
The coming dawn was not far off. All was quite inside the slave hut, outside though, the world was coming alive with the sounds of birds twittering and crickets chirping. A mouse sniffing Natalya’s check jerked Natalya out of a sound sleep. A swift smack from Natalya sent the mouse spinning across the room, but not before it destroyed Natalya’s sleepily slumber.
The plane ride wasn’t nearly as long as I had imagined it would be. Crossing over the barren Midwest made me feel as if I were going back in time. And in a way, I was. When the pilot announced that we were landing soon, all I could think of was how fast the last six hours had flown by (in a very literal way). Soon though, I began feeling the nervous twinges of doubt, wondering how well my memory had served me.
Most people would think it’s strange that I live in a tipi. And, considering that this is the 21st century and I don’t have a drop of Native America blood in my veins, I guess they’re probably right. It’s really not that bad though, except for how different I am from everyone else. Even from the rest of my family, they all think it’s the best thing ever that we get to be so unique.
“You’ll never believe what we have for you to take a look at.” Even with the buzzing noise from being on speaker phone, Mr. Blaine’s voice was clearly excited.
“I got invited! I’m invited!” Bursting into the house, I threw my jean backpack off and rushed up the stairs. I knew Mom would be working in her office. “A dream come true, Mom, can you believe it?”
A head full of words but no memories; like a brook with no water, a riverbed full of sun-dried rocks. A clear night sky with no shinning stars, a dark emptiness stretching as far back as I can see. A niggling feeling tells me to open my eyes and I do. A sage green wall, a dried wreath of roses, white trim. It’s all as unfamiliar to me as the girl in brown braids staring at me, hands clasped behind her back, her eyes large and sad.
What about you? Do any of these beginnings grab your attention? If so, which ones?