For those of you who may not have read Agent Nathan Bransford’s blog this week, he’s conducting a First Paragraph Challenge. Anyone can post the first paragraph of their story in the comments section until Thursday, October 15, at 4pm Pacific time. He’ll select the finalists, and readers will vote on the winner. There are 990 entries as of the last time I checked.
I’m not entering as I know he doesn’t represent the type of novel I’m writing. However, reading the entries is an opportunity to see what an agent deals with on a regular basis. It also hit home the importance of a great opening sentence. I started out reading the entire paragraphs, but due to the volume and how repetitious some of the stories sounded, I ended up just reading the first line. If it sounded good, I read further, otherwise I just moved on to the next entry.
In a book store, I love to browse through books, reading the opening, the jacket cover, maybe even random pages. After looking at a few, I pick one and go home. Agents gets so many queries they don’t have the luxury of taking their time and browsing. They make quick decisions based on a few words. As writers, we need to focus on the opening sentence, the first paragraph, and each one after that to keep the agent, and eventually our readers, turning the page.
I’ve posted on the importance of an opening hook before. You may want to look at my post and the links I included for more information on hooks: https://thewritingplace.wordpress.com/2009/05/02/writing-an-opening-hook/
Did you post your first paragraph in the Challenge?