Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this.
Okay! Want to learn more? Recently, I spotted a bit of advice from author Stephen King about grabbing your reader’s attention in that most important place – the opening line of your new manuscript. King’s advice? I used it to start this post.
Nobel Prize- winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez credited Franz Kafka for starting him on the road to success. Specifically, it was Kafka’s opening line in The Metamorphosis that grabbed him. Here it is: “As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect-like creature.”
Marquez’ reaction: “When I read the line I thought to myself that I didn’t know anyone was allowed to write things like that. If I had known, I would have started writing a long time ago.”
How well did he learn? Here’s how he began his famous One Hundred Years of Solitude: “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.”
I don’t know about you but, if I’d just started reading those books, I’d certainly want to find out more about what bugged Samsa, and what made Colonel Buendia recall a long-ago afternoon just as he was about to be executed.
In my own writing, I always try for an attention-grabbing opening sentence. I’m currently putting the finishing touches on a memoir; here’s how it begins. One a.m., and I still hadn’t had even a moment’s sleep; what a strange and terrifying way to begin a new day.