Tuesday, December 20, 2011


From an article by Jane Rogers in Mslexia #49 - things readers are looking for in a first paragraph include:

Suspense: a hook.

Character: someone intriguing, someone to root for.

Setting: a believable world, a place we want to know about.

Atmosphere: menacing, humorous, fantastical, different.

Voice: an attitude to life, generated by the narrator's language.

Style: confidence and aptness in the language and punctuation.

Sense impressions: touch, taste, smell, sight, hearing.

Dialogue: to draw us into characters' lives.

Foreshadowing: a glimpse towards the story's ending.

Crumbs. As Jane goes on to say: no pressure, then.

No wonder they say the first paragraph is often the one that a) gets rewritten the most times and b) gets written last. You're not really going to *know* all of that stuff when you're actually beginning the story.



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