Beginnings are so important. The first paragraph.

Welcome back to another blog hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.

Don’t forget to click the purple button to see what everyone else has to say on this week’s subject. It’s at the end of my post.

What is the best opening paragraph you’ve written? (inspired by a comment by Richard) Do you have a favorite one that is different?

Me and my big mouth!

That’s a tricky one. The thing is, I’ve written over twenty novels in various genres, plus I have around 50 short stories and works in progress to choose from.

In the interests of research, I had a look at them all, from Sci-fi to Steampunk, Comedy and Cozy Crime to Psychological Thrillers, even the odd Fantasy.  

It was fascinating to see how my style has developed over the years, and, knowing how the stories go, how the first few words can suggest the tone.

The opening paragraph is the only chance you get to grab the reader and make them want to continue.

So I looked at each genre and picked my favourite.

Sci-fi. Myra.

I could see the feet sticking out from under the auxiliary generator; they were small and very pink, the nails painted with rainbow glitter. They looked incongruous against the machinery, delicate and unprotected. There was a muffled hammering noise from the bowels of the machine, and a few choice words punctuated the clanging as some part of the workings was persuaded to behave. The sounds echoed in the confined space. It sounded wrong to hear the crude curses uttered with a soft feminine voice. Hearing the Navy slang took me back to a time before the madness of the last month. I was poised to shout a response when I felt a hand on my sleeve.

Steampunk. The Sensaurum and the Lexis

Jackson Thwaite was hungry. That was the trouble with the orphanage; there were just too many mouths and never enough in the serving dishes to fill them all. The staff were well-meaning, it was among the children that the trouble started. The bullies and their gangs of sycophants generally did alright; it was the young and the weak that went hungry. Jackson was not young, as far as he could remember he was nearly one and twenty, but because he was polite and avoided picking on those smaller than him, he was seen as weak and ripe for exploitation. In consequence, he was always hungry or bruised from his encounters with the bullies, who were the only well-fed ones among the inmates.

Comedy/Cosy Crime. Andorra Pett on Mars

What was I doing here? Not for the first time I wondered that as I faced the man who had changed my life in so many ways. He had cheated on me and I was now pretty sure that he had been responsible for the death of my oldest friend. For what? The usual of course, money! Oh, and to try and save his own miserable neck. The gun was pointed at me, this was it, where was my backup? I was in urgent need of a knight on a white charger; Mayner and his merry men should have turned up by now. Failing that, Cy would do, just as long as he got me out of here pronto! And where the hell had he got to?

Fantasy. The Syk’m

The Syk’m, the very name used to fill me with dread. I wasn’t alone in that, everyone on Skander grew up with tales of their exploits. Those who said they were unafraid were lying, from an early age all we heard were tales of the Syk’m, we were taught to fear them. According to our elders, they watched over us and were never benevolent.

Psychological Thriller. I Remember Everything.

I remember the first day of this new life, it started with pain, the same way that the last day of my old life had ended. I didn’t realise that it was a new life, not to begin with. It seemed to start only seconds after the end of what must have been my last one. In my old life, I had slipped into unconsciousness, there had been pain. Now I was awake again, the pain was still there, although it felt different.

And finally, one of my short stories. The Next Big Thing.

Every bar has one or the other, the drunk in the corner with the big mouth, or the poor fool. This bar, despite being at the edge of civilisation, had Rory.

But, even though I like them all, my favourite is a one-line paragraph from the start of my Dual-time thriller, Life and Other Dreams.

Vanessa, what are you trying to do? Slow down. What’s the rush?”

How about you? Can you pick a favourite? Please comment below, then head on over to see what the other contributors to this bloghop have to say on the subject.

Until next time.

Let me know what you think about this week’s subject.

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6 Responses

    • Richard Dee

      I can see how I’ve changed, over the years and genres. I find that fascinating.

    • Richard Dee

      I must admit that I was shocked to read what I’d written. It was so different to how I remembered it.

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