The old adage may say that the cat didn’t fare well because of curiosity, but for your book, curiosity is your friend. A superb first line attracts the curiosity of its readers. It entices them to keep reading.
If the first line is an intriguing question, they’ll want to know the answer. If the first line presents a problem they can relate to or have wondered about, they’ll want to know the solution. If the first line begins an appealing story, they’ll want to see how it ends.
So appeal to the “curious cat” inside the reader. Take an objective look at the first line of your work in progress, and ask these questions:
- Have I posed a question, presented a problem, or started a story that will interest readers?
- What is in my first line that will make them want to know more?
- Would I be interested enough to read on if someone else had written it?
Browse some books in your genre (and sub-genre) to see some examples of first lines. Which ones grab your curiosity? Learn from other writers what works and what doesn’t.
Don’t just make the first line of your book or chapters intriguing. Do the same thing for the first lines of your paragraphs. If someone read the first line of the paragraphs in your book, would they be curious enough to read the paragraphs themselves?
Remember curiosity is your ally. Editors won’t give you nine lives when they read your manuscript, and neither will future readers. Grab their curiosity from the beginning, and never let go of it!