Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It’s Not About the First Sentence!

News Flash!

Readers are not enamored with first sentences! I can’t ever remember buying a book because of the first sentence. Neither have I ever stopped reading a book because the first sentence didn’t come up to contest quality.

Editors, agents, and contest judges like to use first sentences to gauge the quality of a writer. Everyone knows this and that makes the first sentence very important to this select group of people. This is too bad.

What is really important is the opening situation. The exact wording is not that important. Writing is about situations and not sentences. A writer’s major creative energy should be invested in crafting the most compelling, interesting, and rewarding situations possible.

Situations are bigger than scenes. A situation can span many scenes.

A great first sentence is wonderful but it has to go somewhere. Make that somewhere worth going to and you won’t need a circus barker calling attention to it. You’ll need a traffic cop to control the rush.

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