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Invite Readers into Your Story

August 11, 2010 by Fiction Editor Beth Hill
last modified April 11, 2012

Your first chapter, your opening scene, your very first words are an invitation to readers.

Have you made your invitation inviting? That is, is it tempting or attractive or irresistible? Once a reader has glanced at your opening, will he or she find the story impossible to put down?

That’s one aim of your story opening, to issue a hard-to-resist invitation to your fictional world. You don’t want to create barriers for readers. Instead, you want to make the entry into your story one of ease and inevitability. You want to make the story attractive and compelling.

Books compete with movies and other books and games and the Internet and families and lovers—why wouldn’t you give your opening the strongest chance to snare a reader’s attention?

What can be found in a compelling opening?

Murder

Betrayal

Conflict

Jealousy

Death

Guilt

The unexpected

Confusion

A new world

Fear

Surprise

Upheaval

The unusual

What isn’t compelling?

Routine

Bliss

Pointless talk

Back story

Cliched characters

Consider your first scene and first words your invitation to readers. You want them to stay a while? Give them a reason to enter your world and tease them with reasons to stay. Entice. Attract. Stir emotions. Stir their imaginations. Stir up curiosity.

Give them a reason to begin your story.

Give them a reason to turn pages.

Give them a reason to race to the end.

Invite readers into your story.

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Looking for specifics on how to start stories or introduce story elements? Try How to Hook Your Readers and First Impressions and Introductions.

Tags: , ,     Posted in: Beginning Writers, Writing Tips

5 Responses to “Invite Readers into Your Story”

  1. its really nice reading through this page…im a new invention..a potential author.i have gotten new ideas on how to go about enticing my readers. i want my book to be published when im done.

  2. And I’ll encourage you to in your goal to be published. I’m glad you found new ways to entice readers.

  3. Emma says:

    Thank you so much for the tips! I really want to be a author and i liked the tip on stir up their minds… it really helped!

  4. Emma, you are most welcome. I wish you great success with your writing career.

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