Often, people decide on whether they like a book or any writing piece based on what they read on the first page. In fact, not even the first page – ask most people and they’ll tell you. If the 1st line doesn’t grab them, you’ve lost them.

A good opener is one which creates a sense of interest and curiosity at the same time. Here are some good ones that have gotten people reading over the years:

“This is the story of Achilles’ rage.” -Homer (The Iliad)

“Getting through the night is becoming harder and harder. Last evening, I had the uneasy feeling that some men were trying to break into my room to shampoo me.” – Woody Allen, Without Feathers

“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.” – Stephen King, The Gunslinger

“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongye taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta” – Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.” – Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Assignment: So, your assignment, should you choose to accept it (and you have to), is to come up with 12 Openers that will grab readers and make them want to read on.

By the time the class meets in week 2, you will post to your blog 12 opening sentences. They will be the best you can think of, and they will all be written in the third person and the present tense. Use the descriptive voice, but don’t add silly words for no reason. Add this to the blog as a page, NOT a post, and make sure it is titled “Openers.”



2 Responses to Openers

  1. hi mr leslie, when you say openers, are we suppose to write a sentence as short as the grass skirt one and put like “…” at the end or something like that? or are we suppose to write a short essay like we did today? thanks.

  2. theredpants says:

    Just the opener – just a one liner like “MJ walks toward the restaurant wearing nothing but a grass skirt”

    Write me twelve of those – no need to write the full story.

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