Writing The Opening Lines Of A Novel, by Kate Forsyth

Writing Teen Novels

The most important line in any story is the first line.

A novel needs to start with something so captivating that the reader is compelled to read on. This is called the Opening Hook. There is no single strategy for writing a hook. Hooks can use descriptive language, humour, clever phrasing, action, foreshadowing and many other techniques to lure the reader in.

I like my opening lines to do as much as possible. I think that they should identify the protagonist, signal the genre and age group to the reader, arouse curiosity, and jump straight into the action.

Here are my top suggestions for writing brilliant beginnings:

  • Always start at the point of change – what is the inciting incident, the event which will change your protagonist’s life for ever?
  • Always jump right into the middle of the action
  • Start with something that grabs the reader’s attention. A few suggestions:

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