Many writers often wonder how long or short their story’s opening should be. Read this excerpt from Hooked by Les Edgarton and find out what is the proper length for a story opening.
The primary requirement of an opening is that the first line plunges the reader into the story instantly. A slow, leisurely beginning is just not acceptable to readers these days, unless you’re a brand-name author whose fans will pick up anything and everything you write, or unless the book you’re working on is any but the first in a series. In both cases, waiting fans may be predisposed to wade through a lethargic opening; other books and stories won’t be granted a similar amount of patience by the reader. And while a slow beginning may sometimes be acceptable in a novel, rarely will such a beginning be tolerated in a short story.
So, what’s the proper length for a story opening? The answer is: As short as you can make it.
Open the story, show readers the problem via a scene, and then have your character get to work on the problem.
That’s it, pretty much.
Short and sweet does the work best.