The Opening Line

Writing is an art. We begin with a blank canvas—a white sheet of paper on a notebook, or on a computer screen. Using our imagination, we paint with our words, describing people and things, evoking emotion, and creating dialogue. We compose sentences filled with words we’ve carefully picked to help tell our stories. But before our stories can be told, we must first write that one line…the opening line that starts it all.

The beginning.

The first sentence that we write has to be good. Actually, it has to be great. We rely on this sentence to grab and engage a reader—make them curious—make them keep going until soon, they’ve turned the page.

I picked five random opening lines from some of the books in my little bookshelf. I’m sure that many of you have read these books. I do believe these are great examples of what an opening line should be. They are all unique, powerful, and engaging.

1. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
1984, by George Orwell

2. It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.
The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath

3. It was love at first sight.
Catch-22, by Joseph Heller

4. When Gregor Samsa woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin.
The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka

5. It is always like this: The best parties are made by people in trouble.
Away, by Amy Bloom

Add to this list! Leave me a comment below and write down a couple of memorable opening lines from your favorite books.

Have a great weekend!

10 Book Cover Designs for Inspiration

Although we say not to judge a book by its cover, we still do.

Book covers are like mini billboard ads. They need to be catchy and memorable. They also need to represent their genres and their stories effectively. With a strong title and a strong design, you can achieve an effective book cover that will make readers want to buy your book and read your story.

If you’re a self-published author getting ready to design or get your book cover designed, here are only a few examples of book covers you can use for inspiration. Pay attention to the elements of each book cover below. As you’ll see, not all successful book covers need to be busy and colorful. Some can be simple but still powerful.

Scroll down and let me know which one makes you stop and look closer.


20 Ways to Tell You’re a Writer

20 Ways to Tell You’re a Writer:
(In random order)

  1. Ideas for plots, characters and dialogue pop up in your head anytime and anywhere.
  2. Aside from owning a lot of notebooks, you have post-its, napkins and sheets of papers filled with random things you’ve written. (When I was 18 and working at a retail store, I ripped a piece of receipt paper from the cash register because I had to write a poem.)
  3. You love books.
  4. You can write scenes and dialogue in your head while doing house chores.
  5. You’re observant.
  6. You can almost always predict what’s about to happen next during a movie.
  7. You don’t mind spending hours alone—writing.
  8. You love words.
  9. You don’t only love to write. You have to write.
  10. You get the urge to want to rewrite scenes from movies or TV shows you’ve just watched.
  11. You say this line too often, “I need to write that down”.
  12. You get frustrated when you don’t get to write.
  13. You can be many different characters at one time when writing stories.
  14. You daydream often.
  15. You can fill blank pages with stories that most of the time write themselves.
  16. You’re always editing.
  17. You have voices in your head and you can’t shut them up. You try, but they come back anyway.
  18. You have a crazy imagination.
  19. Going to bookstores excite you.
  20. You see things differently. To others, it’s just a photo, just a line from a song, just a train ride, but to you—it’s a story.

There are other ways to tell if you’re a writer, but I thought I’d stick to 20. Please feel free to add more. 🙂