Sunday, 23 January 2011

O is for Openings

I know that when I go for an interview I will do my best to dress appropriately. Make certain my hair and make up reflect the way I want to look because I aim to please, as I want to fit in. And the business pundits say I have 30 seconds to succeed. A decision will be made in that very short time by my prospective employer and then the remainder of the interview is designed to disprove their initial assessment. So, if this is true I have this long to win you over!

But let’s face it together. When a buyer looks at a row of books, neatly stacked along a shelf, how quickly will they make up their minds? When their hand finally lands on your book how long is it before it is accepted or discarded for a more enticing title? The title may appeal in its own right or it might have been recommended. (That has to be great news!) The back cover introduction and front cover may have passed approval and further supported the readers initial choice – otherwise why would a reader turn to the opening page of a new book?

Then there's that all important first sentence and then the opening paragraph. Of course I can be certain of one thing. It will probably be very difficult to be appeal to all readers, all of the time.

Apparently some readers will turn to last page, race to the end of the story to see if it’s worth investing their valuable time to read the book in the first place! To me that strikes of eating pudding before the starter and main course have been fully considered, perhaps they have a sweet tooth that needs to sated. But if they like it then that books is going to be purchased.

So what sort of opening am I aiming for? Straight into the action, reveal the hook immediately or perhaps take a long slow description to set the scene and present the opening set, just like a play. Well now that would be telling but here’s a hint, I don’t like books like the latter idea with a meandering opening has me returning the book to the shelf very quick indeed.

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