Saturday, May 12, 2012
Openings are critical
Each word in an opening is at least 100 times more important than any other word in a book.
- The first 7 words are all that appear in an RSS reader
- The title and the first 10 words are all that appear in a Google search
- The first sentence is all that an agent will read before deciding to pitch an unsolicited submission
- The first page is all a bookstore patron will read before deciding whether to return a book back to the shelf
- The first chapter is all that an Amazon patron will read before deciding whether to buy or not
Consider these classic openings:
"Call me Ishmael." Moby Dick
"You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no matter." The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
"I have never begun a novel with more misgiving." The Razor's Edge.
"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold." Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.