All books have a beginning…middle…and an end.  The first line of your Novel should be an amazing and astonishing sentence, resulting in hooking the reader into reading what happens next. The first Chapter should set the mood and end with a cliffhanger..

The following, are a few great books with popular first lines, we all remember.

Let us start with the opening paragraph of Charles Dickens “TALE OF TWO CITIES…”It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” The hook tells the reader it is a time of political unrest which led to the French revolution.

From “NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN” “I sent one boy to the gas chamber at Huntsville” The hook here is, he is a good man, working covertly around bad men, and this torments him.

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen” from  1984, by George Orwell’s dystopian novel.  Clocks turning thirteen tell the reader this is an out of the ordinary novel.

-Keep in mind when writing your first line that today’s readers have busy lives, want instant gratification, and have dozens of other books to choose from, so your novel needs to grab the reader immediately.

Begin at an important event in the life of your protagonist. With my novel, I began with my main character, who is a college student, involved in a serious automobile accident resulting in her hospitalization, where she is fighting for her life.

  1. Set the mood and place of your protagonist.  In my novel, she is placed in a Medically induced coma, due to possible brain damage, and there is the possibility she will not finish her last year of college and have a career

  2.    Have a compelling voice when using first person in a character driven story. She is driven to complete college, go on for a Masters and be independent.

     3.    Hint at the beginning that trouble surrounds her, a domineering parent; a stalker (her former boyfriend), and injuries that may prevent her from a career she wants.

    4.     Your main character should be relatable, similar to people you know, with everyday lives, dreams, and ambitions. She should be conflicted in some way, and having difficulty overcoming obstacles. However, refrain from telling all.

   5.      End the first chapter with a cliffhanger.  The reader will ask “What happens, and will want to read more.

                        Here’s to an amazing first line hook, Paula

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