How to Write: Day Two-the first paragraph

How to Write: Day Two-the first paragraph

Welcome back to How to Write–my little series of helpful tips and applications that will set you on the path to writing glory. If you missed it, here is the link to DAY ONE .

So, just to recap, I have the story blurb written, a little sketch of each of the main characters, and a summary. And I finally eked out the first line. At this point I want to say I am ready to begin writing. Just a paragraph or two. Just enough to get a feel for this paper person and why she is leading the charge out into storyland.

To use an old fishing analogy, if the first line is the hook, (and everyone says it is), then the first paragraph is the cane pole it is dangling from. Meaning? Who is this person and why is her life important? What can we say that will supoort that first line, or maybe explain it a little more? We need to expound on that hook.

Here is the first line again, edited a little:
Susan Whiting’s dream wedding began when she was a child playing dress-up in her mother’s sequined evening gown. Her dream never carried her farther than the end of the rose-petal strewn aisle.

HOW TO WRITE: the first paragraph

Each day when she rose from her matrimonial bed, Susan pinched herself to make sure she was really truly awake. Unlike a Lifetime movie where trouble doesn’t come until everything is settled and marriage is blissful, or one of those old shows where smiles and hugs conquer evil at the end, Susan acknowledged her mistake in the first week: she’d married the wrong man.

Can you see how the first sentence hooked the reader with an intriguing setup and the first paragraph delivered on it? Well, maybe it didn’t deliver quite yet, but it is certainly the trigger being pulled back. We want each paragraph from here on in to go a little deeper on this idea that she has married the wrong man.

So kiddies, tomorrow we will check out the first page. Yep. You will get the WHOLE page! I know, this is taking forever, but if we want to do this thing the right way, we have to examine the journey from hook to final resolution.

Now it’s your turn. Have you written your blurb? Character sketch? First line? Tell me about it…what are you struggling with? Get those comments rolling, y’all.

Tomorrow: the first page.

    About master

    Kim Smith is the author of Disk of Death, The Dread Room, Love Inn, and An Unexpected Performance.

    Page with Comments

    1. Of course, you already know that this is not my favorite genre, but your instructions on the first line and paragraph of a novel being a “hook” is absolutely right.

      Keep up the good work,
      Paul

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