“A secret’s worth depends on the people from whom it must be kept.” ~Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Shadow of the Wind
2. Begin at a pivotal moment
By starting at an important moment in the story, your reader is more likely to want to continue so he or she can discover what will happen next.
“It was dark where she was crouched but the little girl did as she’d been told.” ~Kate Morton, The Forgotten Garden
“I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975.” ~Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner
3. Create an Interesting picture
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” ~Daphne DuMaurier, Rebecca
“She stands up in the garden where she has been working and looks into the distance.” ~Michael Ontaatje, The English Patient
4. Introduce an intriguing character
The promise of reading more about a character you find intriguing will, no doubt, draw you into a story’s narrative. Most often, this is one of the main characters in the book.
“I was born twice: first as a baby girl on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.” ~Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex
5. Start with an unusual situation
Show us characters in unusual circumstances, and we’ll definitely be sticking around to see what it’s all about.
“They had flown from England to Minneapolis to look at a toilet.” ~Nick Hornby, Juliet, Naked
“Last night, I dreamt that I chopped Andrew up into a hundred little pieces, like a Benihana chef, and ate them, one by one.” ~Julie Buxbaum, The Opposite of Love
6. Begin with a compelling narrative voice
Open your story with the voice of a narrator we can instantly identify with, or one that relates things in a fresh way.
“As I begin to tell this, it is the golden month of September in southwestern Ontario.” ~Alistair MacLeod, No Great Mischief