Sometimes coming up with a great opening paragraph is a struggle because this is the part that draws in your reader. It shapes the post and the idea around it. Should you be introducing another world (world building), a scenario/setting. The opening paragraph remains the most important and often where we make the most mistakes in writing. Here are 10 writing mistakes that can kill your opening paragraph;
- Boring/generic first line.
Do not show what the characters are doing if it’s day to day normal activities. These chronological sequence of events bore readers especially if they are unnecessary and required to lengthen your post. You remember those lavender curtains that let the sun in through like beams and then there was always the wafting of bacon and eggs coming from the kitchen and you jumped into the frog’s kingdom? If your teacher of English did not raise hell over this cliché, then you probably should write about a narrow escape.
- Point of view(POV) shifts
This is a common problem among writers so you really aren’t alone. Basically, it is the assumption of different characters even before establishing your main character. Readers get accustomed to your main character to a point they are invested creating a connection between them and him/her/it. This shapes the story/scenario in their minds and in so they can relate how the others characters come into the whole scene.
- No clear POV character.
It is very hard to be invested in a story when your knowledge about the characters is limited. Fleshing out your characters goes a long way in having your readers interested in your work enough to follow up on a blog series especially. Make your characters interesting by giving them real life attributes etc. A relationship is forged between reader and character to have your audience hooked.
- Introducing too many characters at once.
This has to be the best suicide to a story and also a real cause for confusion in readers. Easy reading and comprehension is vital when writing your opening paragraph. Many characters have you pausing to go back and read the post all over again to understand who is this new guy or girl only to realize you already written about them but the characters were too many.
- Clumsy formatting.
This is evident when you have a case of too many italics to a story that express a character’s thoughts and they continue for a long period of time. This could be pages or paragraphs of the same conversation or thoughts and is irritating to a reader. It makes you think that the writer was lacking in content or instead they did not have the right plot in mind when writing.
- Allowing a character to think or talk for long periods of time
This kills your character in that you allow them too much screen time. When do the other characters get time to have their own dialogue or become present in your story? These illicit certain feelings in a reader for example;
- a reader feels like they have been preached to
- they lose all sense of setting to the story and in turn
- this kills all the action.
- Having no trouble or conflict.
Have you ever read a book and wondered what the story was? Why were you reading the story and what benefit did it have? Did it fail to entertain, motivate or stir any feelings in you? This is what happens when your blog post is flat and lacks the necessary stuff that makes it worth reading. Keeping the reader hooked is a constant job that needs your creativity and different techniques. We have a couple tips on the BAKE blog website that serve to assist you with your blogging.
- Stilted dialogue
This is making the relationship between the characters too formal and aloof. It feels like a transaction instead of a regular exchange of words. Unless they are strangers in your post, then you need to have less reference to the character’s names directly, for example,
“You don’t need to keep arguing with me Maria!”
There’s more that could kill your opening paragraph, I just hope you are able to avoid these main ones.