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Start as you mean to go on
Writing Magazine

Start as you mean to go on

Posted Friday, March 18, 2016   |   3485 views   |   General Interest   |   Comments (0) Make sure your book begins in such a way that readers – and editors – can’t put it down, says Amy Sparkes

What is a major difference between young readers and adult readers? Patience. An adult reader might give it several chapters to ‘get into’ a book they struggle to click with. However, a child who is not engaged with a book will quickly move on to something else. That’s why it is so important for a children’s book to be gripping from beginning to end.

Often, the front cover is examined first to see if it appeals. If it passes that test, it’s usually down to the opening lines. How can you write an opening which captivates your young reader, and promises them a wonderful journey ahead?

The beginning of a story needs to be strong and well-delivered, drawing the reader in and making them want to read more. As a basic checklist, you could ask yourself:
• What information does the reader gain? How is this useful or enticing?
• What questions does the opening raise?
• Is there a hook to make the reader want to continue?

There’s no right or wrong way to open your story, as long as the writing is effective and appropriate for the genre. You could, for example, start with evocative scene-setting, intrigue, action or dialogue – or a combination of the above.

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Writing Magazine is the UK’s biggest and bestselling magazine for ALL writers. Whether you write for pleasure or publication, whatever your style or genre, this magazine has something to help you.

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