Recently I had the good fortune of winning a craft book through a writers’ conference auction: The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings: How to Craft Story Openings That Sell by Paula Munier. Good timing too since I’m currently querying my newest medical thriller.
Munier is a literary agent and author, so she knows of what she speaks. In the book she mentions her first week as an agent netted 1,000 queries alone.
With volume like that, it’s easy to see why they must race through submissions. Beyond a query letter, a few lines of story may be all we get to sell our manuscript. If those lines aren’t riveting, it’s on to the next query. And who can blame them? There are only so many hours in the day.
Some of what you’ll find in this book:
- Specific and thorough advice on what should be in your story’s opening, starting with the very first line
- The importance of a strong story idea and how to build one
- Ways to strengthen your opening through characters, setting, and conflict
- Basics like POV choice, writing dialogue, and creating theme, along with more nuanced concepts like “narrative thrust” and “organizing principle”
- A review of overall story structure
While the main emphasis of the book is about writing opening scenes, many other topics are covered. Furthermore, Munier offers specific examples to illustrate the advice, along with dozens of quotes from various authors.
Even if you’re not looking for an agent and plan to self-publish, this book is a great addition to your craft arsenal. Independent authors need a knock-it-out-of-the-park opening just as much as querying authors do, especially in this glutted literary world.
Readers have endless book choices—far more supply than demand—so we need to hook them from the start. The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings: How to Craft Story Openings That Sell will get us one step closer to doing that.
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*Note: My apologies for closing comments, but my transition away from a typical blog has really helped my writing productivity. Comments are open on my “Contact” page should you ever want to connect or share your thoughts. My intention is not to be inaccessible. It’s only to get my focus off social media and onto my manuscripts! Thank you as always for reading.
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