Opening books and tales

Monday musings from bestselling authors

May-hem month is almost over, so for our last Musing of the month, BestSelling Reads authors offer their thoughts about the best way to open a book.

Should every book open with action of some kind? Even a kiss can be considered action.

Alan McDermott

I prefer to start all my books with an action scene, because if you don’t grip the reader in those first few sentences, you’ve lost them. I’ve lost count of the number of books I’ve abandoned in the first couple of chapters.

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Raine Thomas

The way I start a book depends entirely on the book. If it’s an action-forward book, I usually start in the middle of some action. If it’s romance-forward, I introduce one or both of the main characters and their key conflict(s) to get the reader invested right away.

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Bruce Blake

As a writer, I definitely aim to start in media res, and put an emphasis on an intriguing first sentence. As a reader, if I pick up a book and the first few sentences are a description of setting or weather, I rarely go any further.

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Seb Kirby

I think the start is all about capturing that certain voice. Once you get it and hear it back, the story can take off under its own motion. The main character in action is good basis, but it’s not the only way.

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J.L. Oakley

That’s a great way to put it. The opening is the voice of the story.

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Elyse Salpeter

I’m of the sense that a book should open with action. However, my favorite authors open every book with a scenic view, slowly setting a scene. It takes pages for me to get into their books.

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AJ Llewellyn

I open all of my books with a piece of action! That was the way I was taught to grab hold of readers.

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DelSheree Gladden

In order to hook the reader, a book should open with some kind of conflict. I don’t always use action, but I try to give the reader a sense of what the main problem of the story will be, so they can start getting invested in the outcome right away.

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Jennifer Harlow

Action, action, a witty quip, then action! You have a page or two to hook someone. Get that blood pumping and intrigue rolling.

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Scott Bury

Action is a great way to get a reader invested in the action, but then so many excellent writers begin many wonderful tales with a fantastic variety of openings. For my work-in-progress, I am experimenting with a sensory experience.

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Intriguing? Why not see how these authors begin their books by visiting their pages and buying one or two?

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