The Struggle of Creating a Catchy First Sentence

Someone was watching her.

Does that work? It’s too vague. It’s too short. You don’t know who is watching who. How can she tell who is watching her? It’s too—

Nope. It’s fine. It’s totally fine.

There’s always a million thoughts running through my head when I first start something, even if it’s something as small as a blog or Instagram post.

First sentences are everything to me. They make or break my writing momentum; they make or break my will. I have set down many books because their first sentence was too long, or too boring, or just wrong.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve stumbled upon some awesome storylines with terrible first lines, but I had to restart Six of Crows three times to get into it because I didn’t like the first page one bit.

Part of writing is making sure that you can carry the momentum you feel to your reader, so the moment I hate my first sentence I’m afraid the reader will plop that book down real fast.

You have to strike a balance with your writing—in order to be able to write, you have to be able to start, but that can be so ridiculously hard when you feel the need to make your sentence perfect on the first try. Honestly, it was a huge reason why my first draft took me literally a year. I sat for a solid week and a half just to find the first sentence of a chapter that I thought had momentum until I hit a blank page.

Sometimes it helps me to comb through my books to read alllllll the first sentences, even if that means I’m hunched over an obscenely large pile of books. In the name of research, we forge forward!!!!!

Some of my favorites come from my favorite series, which I think is a sign. If I fall in love with the first sentence, I fall in love with the idea, then the plot, then the book, then the series.

…Which makes me feel the writing pressure even more.

I’ve fallen in love with crappy first sentences because it means that there’s always room for improvement!! That first sentence way ^ there? That’s the first sentence of my book. It was originally three lines long and listed not only my MC’s full name but also their exact location and essentially the entire purpose of the book. IT. WAS. THE. WORST.

But it's okay!! It's just proof that you’ll get better!! Let’s write!!

Out of curiosity, how do YOU write your first sentences? Any advice?

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