Episode 34

Chase Replogle

There's No Sentence Like The First Sentence

Writers pay attention to the first sentence. Writing great first sentences is an art worth practicing.
Writers pay attention to the first sentence. Writing great first sentences is an art worth practicing.
00:00 23:02

Show Notes:34. Chase Replogle — There’s No Sentence Like The First Sentence

I’m obsessed with the opening sentences of books. Working on this episode, I stood in front of my bookshelves for over 30 minutes opening book after book to reread the opening lines.

By no means does my interest in the topic mean I have mastered its execution, but for the sake of helping you learn to appreciate the masters, I want to work through some common approaches. It’s not exhaustive but here are six possible ways to approach first sentences.

  1. 1. Surprise!
  2. 2. The Dramatic
  3. 3. A Bit of Philosophy
  4. 4. With Voice
  5. 5. A Story
  6. 6. Detail, Detail, Detail

There are plenty of other ways to begin. What matters most is not that you choose from my list. What matters is that you take the time to make the most of your start.

Be intentional. How can you help a reader connect from the first words? Try different openings. Rearrange paragraphs, moving unexpected things to the front. Add detail. Drop a quote. Surprise your reader.

But more than anything else, I hope I’ve peeked your interest in gathering your own list of best opening sentences. I hope you’ll pay more attention to the opening sentences of the books you love.

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