You’ve heard my thoughts on writing a good beginning, but don’t just listen to me. Here are a couple of other resources for your review:
Beginnings, Middles, and Ends by Nancy Kress
A trusted name in fiction writing, Kress’s book is a staple when it comes to learning the basics. One Amazon reviewer says, “The further into this book I read, the more impressed I become with Nancy Kress. Many people don’t understand the mechanics involved in writing a story. She “sits” the reader down and explains the best way to start a story from the first sentence. She then goes into the first scene, and even into the second scene! She explains the things necessary to include in a good opening, and also gives examples of poor ones. I find this approach to be the best way to hammer home the ideas.”
101 Best Beginnings Ever Written by Barnaby Conrad
Don’t have the space on your nightstand for all of the books you want to review? This book conveniently puts 101 opening scenes in one spot.
Barnaby Conrad follows up his acclaimed 101 Best Scenes Ever Written with 101 Best Beginnings Ever Written. Readers will continue their delightful romp through literature guided and instructed by Conrad’s insights and annotations. For writers and readers, the first part of every story is the most important. Conrad has identified twelve types of beginnings, providing captivating examples such as Ambrose Bierce’s opening sentence to his short story “An Imperfect Conflagration”: Early one June morning in 1872 I murdered my father—an act which made a deep impression on me at the time. Writers will learn how to start their stories with forceful, compelling prose that hooks readers from page one; casual readers will delight in the cleverness of the various authors’ opening lines and in Conrad’s insightful comments.
What books do you recommend for crafting a great opening scene?