The opening pages of any novel are important, but with children’s literature, where it is vital that you grab and hold the reader’s interest on page one, you won’t have the luxury of several pages to play with.
It is said that a writer has about twenty seconds to entice a child to continue reading. If you haven’t grabbed them within that short period of time, you have most probably lost them forever.
This can be a daunting thought for the novice writer, but it’s something that can be practised.
Tip 9 – The Twenty Second Challenge
One of the best ways of capturing a child’s attention is by opening with a gripping first paragraph. So, here are some tips on how to construct those all-important first few sentences to help you win the twenty second challenge.
Open with conflict:
Try starting your chapter in the middle of an argument. This could be a disagreement with someone in authority, with a friend, with an enemy, or even with themselves.
Use a sense of danger:
Attempt to draw the reader straight into the story by opening with your hero in danger. The danger could be real or imagined, but it must be believable.
I told you not to do that:
By putting your heroine in the wrong for something she is supposed to have done, or in trouble for not doing something, you are able to engage the reader’s sympathy straight away. They can immediately identify with her, particularly if it is made clear that she has been unfairly told off.
Make them laugh:
Aim to make the reader chuckle by opening with a comic incident.
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