WALT: Identify, evaluate and craft powerful opening sentences
Last weekend I went to the beach. We had a lot of fun.
I woke up and looked out the window. It was a beautiful day. When I went downstairs, I said to my wife, ‘Let’s go to the beach today!’
It was only 6:45 am and already the temperature was over 25 degrees. I couldn’t take another day of swimming in my own sweat! There was only one solution. I hollered up the stairs: ‘Hey! Do you fancy going to the beach today?!’
Which was the most effective? Why was it more successful than the others?
Did you know one of the most important things you can do for your story is to write a really strong first line(s) (aka powerful opener)? Think about it. The first line is the very first taste your reader will have of your story. You want to grab the reader’s attention from the very start and make them want to read more.
We hear this over and over! “I don’t know how to get started!”
Today you will explore various ways authors get their stories off and running.
You will notice that you will practice writing your own terrific first lines by using mentor texts as a guide. (Mentor texts are books or stories that can be used as good examples for your own writing.) This is a great way to grow as a writer and to try out different styles.
What did you notice? What did you find interesting?
See how I used the first line from the book, The Young Elites, as inspiration to create our own? It’s a subtle, but really important difference. Copying another author’s lines is not okay (that’s called plagiarism) but being inspired by great writers—and learning from great books—is how every author masters his or her craft.
Time to give it a go!
- Write a ‘powerful opener’ using 3 of the examples
- Extension - Try all 6 =)
- How will you know you are successful?
Here is an example from last year!
1. They're going to kill me, they're really going to kill me.
2. I am Elodie. I am 6 years old. I am an assassin.
3. I'm only going to say this once, so focus.
4. The late fall evening sun fell below the horizon, beyond the ruffled shrubs, which lay silent as the wind tore its leaves and threw them towards the woods, where the most peculiar things lurk in its shadows.
5. Clairvoyance is seeing the future. Many had it, like Abraham Lincoln.
6. "Where are my parents?" I demanded, thinking about the cell trapping me in the damp stone room.
- Select one text that you have previously crafted (HL included)
- Using the examples you have crafted today - Write 3 different beginnings for your text.
- Read your powerful openers to a partner and have the partner pick the beginning that would make them want to read the rest of the text.