Grabbing Attention

Trying to write a story?

Worried that you will end up penning something derivative, full of clichés, tired or too obvious?

Here are three quick tactics you can use to grab your readers’ attention from the start:

1. Use a Unique Angle

You can confidently begin anywhere, with anything, but spice it up immediately by taking a unique approach to the content. Say something unconventional or insightful; open in an intriguing way.

For example, the opening sentence of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina introduces the domestic background that drives the story’s tragedy, using a sweeping assertion. The opening line is effective for two reasons. On one hand, it makes a controversial claim:

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

We might object. But we are also compelled to see a truth that might have hitherto escaped our attention. This opening sentence is also well constructed -it has a symmetry that makes us become curious about how this claim will be proven by the story. When you use a unique angle, it catches your audience’s eye.

2. Project Oddity

You can stand out by being odd. Not necessarily totally weird — just odd. Your image, your style, or a unique approach to a common topic make your work a little bit electric. Take the opening line of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, for example:

The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we came to understand the gravity of our situation.