Across the Universe begins with a chilling opener of a girl watching her parents go through an excruciatingly painful and horrifying cryogenic procedure. What makes this scene even more compelling is her dad entrusting her with the decision of whether she will become a popsicle next, or opt-out.
Immediately, I was hooked and so were all of Beth Revis’ loyal FB followers, whom she takes the time to individually thank after the credits roll at story’s end.
So, how important are opening scenes to the success of a novel?
In my opinion, they’re everything! Not only for the reader, but also for the agent and editor, who need to fall on your hook hard and fast. They simply have too many other manuscripts on deck to bother with a slow boil story.
In my novel, Time Warped, I begin with Lanie Landry’s overwhelming compulsion to pull the fire alarm at her high school.
“The lure of the box had been strong for months. Almost an obsession, really. What would it feel like to release the siren? To hear the mad shrieks of chaos, the smattering of running feet in all directions, the pounding of my heart bursting through my chest?”
Once Lanie pulls the alarm, there’s no turning back for her character. The fire alarm becomes the catalyst for shocking change, of Twilight Zone proportions, in which she’ll meet a midget, an albino, a red-headed cheerleader and the love of her life—all in an insane asylum!
In closing, I’d love to know have you found your opener?
Tracey L Pacelli
Award Winning Author