“Three…two…one. Happy New Year!”
Janet Zwingel sent a glance and a sigh toward her chirping phone.
Lifting her glass, Serena Carter focused her attention on her best friends.
From the opening line of three different books — do you know where you are? When you are?
In the first — the date and time are clear. The second — definitely a contemporary story. The third — we know our heroine is not alone — and beverages are involved (probably not coffee.)
Think about one of your favorite books. How soon did the author sweep you into the world of the characters? One page? One paragraph? Did the tone — comedy, thriller, mystery — leap from page to reader by the time you turned the page?
Writing groups, and authors when gathered together, frequently talk about beginnings. How do I “hook” the reader into my world? Do I need more than a “time stamp” to ground them in time and place? Is present day easier to deal with than historical or futuristic?
The general consensus — sooner is better. Specific is better — St. Louis instead of Midwest. Season is good — August heat wave or January’s freezer temperatures.
Not caught in the first paragraph? Please, bear with the author a little longer — at least several pages.
Intrigued by the examples? Here are the Kindle links to second and third.