Someone in one of my writing groups asked what makes a great first page. It’s an excellent question, and no two answers will be alike, despite what the bestseller lists and books on writing “the breakout novel” tell us.
Character always draws me into a book. I don’t read many thrillers or fast-paced stories. Someone reported the advice that a first line of a novel should make you nervous. I think that works well for readers who love suspenseful stories. I’m not so reeled in by suspense, but a great character in the book’s opening — even an unappealing person — will catch me.
A Man Called Ove did this, with the most unique character I’ve ever read about. I kept reading just to see who was going to punch him in the face. Here are three book openings whose characters, sketched nimbly in first paragraphs, hooked me. And the books proved just as good as their openings!