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An opening line should have a distinctive voice, a point of view, a rudimentary plot and some hint of characterization.By the end of the first paragraph, we should also know the setting and conflict, unless there is a particular reason to withhold this information.
One of the dangers of trying to come up with a great opening sentence is that you can end up overthinking it and going overboard.
As one admissions tutor said: 'Be succinct and draw the reader in, but not with a gimmick.
Never forget that the entire course of a story or novel, like an avalanche, is largely defined within its first seconds.
To craft a compelling story, you must first launch it in the right direction. The first cardinal rule of opening lines is that they should possess most of the individual craft elements that make up the story as a whole.
We spoke to admissions tutors up and down the country, and they all said the same thing: don't get stressed out trying to think of a killer opening!
Check out our advice below on beginning your personal statement the right way, including what to include, what not to do and how to approach it (or even, put it off...).This need not lead to elaborate or complex openings. For example, the opening sentence of Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” tells the reader: “The grandmother didn’t want to go to Florida.” Already, we have a distinctive voice—somewhat distant, possibly ironic—referring to grandmother with a definite article. And we have a sense of characterization: a stubborn or determined elderly woman.Although we do not know the precise setting, we can rule out Plato’s Athens, Italy under the Borgias and countless others. Yet what matters most is that we have direction—that O’Connor’s opening is not static.As a fishing buddy of mine explains, the trick is to use the smallest hook possible to make a catch—and then to pull like crazy in the opposite direction.In modern cinema, films commonly begin with the camera focused close up on an object and then draw back panoramically, often to revelatory effect, such as when what appears to be a nude form is actually revealed to be a piece of fruit. Most readers prefer to be “grounded” in context and to focus in. One of the easiest pitfalls in starting a story is to begin with an opening line that is confusing upon first reading, but that makes perfect sense once the reader learns additional information later in the story.Many writers are taught that the more unusual or extreme their opening line, the more likely they are to “hook” the reader.But what we’re not taught is that such large hooks also have the power to easily disappoint readers if the subsequent narrative doesn’t measure up.But unless you’re rewriting , waking up is rarely challenging or dramatic.Often, when we start this way, it’s because we’re struggling to write our way into the narrative, rather than letting the story develop momentum of its own.Watch now: How to begin your personal statement Check out our guides to concluding your statement, talking about your hobbies the right way and what to cut if you're hitting the Ucas character count.Also, we cover some specific personal statement queries here including what counts in the character limit set by Ucas.