Monday, May 7, 2012
Anway, I'm back and I'm curious to know something. You know how the first few sentences in a book are critical for hooking the reader, well I would love to know your imput on this little paragraph:
The hammer in her hand felt smooth and comfortable, and as cool as a glass of water. Cleopatra Riley grabbed the key from her pocket and walked to the cabinet in her darkened closet. She unlocked it, and after opening both wooden doors wide, took out all of her porcelain horses, setting them on top of the dresser. In a few seconds, what had taken almost ten years to collect, was gone – smashed to hundreds of pieces
Does it draw you in? Is it too wordy? Do you want to read more? I know beginnings are SO important. Important as in, getting an agent to request a partial, or having them say "thanks, but no thanks."
What are some of your favorite openers? Some book openers are hilarious, some are serious, some are just confusing -- but appropriately so. But, almost all of the ones I've read are good because they are to-the-point, in the middle of conflict, and drawing me in from the first few sentences. The way books should be.
For example, here's my opener from The Puzzle Master.
The sun peered through the window and Marshall’s eyes opened with a start. What time was it? He sat up in bed and checked his clock. 7:05. Perfect, still early enough. He scrambled out of the sheets, already hot and sticky, and headed for his closet, tiptoeing past his older brother.
My goal was to have Marshall in the middle of a conflict. He had to get to his favorite store before it opened, but that was because he was looking for his special "treasure" and because he only had thirty minutes in there. He also wanted to get out before his family woke up, thereby further delaying his mission.
If your opener doesn't suggest a problem, or conflict, or isn't in the middle of said conflict, you've got the wrong opening. You want to bring the person into the room, so to speak; welcome them in with tea and cookies and get them to put their feet up on the ottoman because they're enthralled with the room (book.)
Rework it, make it snappy, like the opening of a movie -- because that's about the patience people have for reading anymore -- and then you've got something an agent will beg to see.