You sit down at your computer and you're ready to write the first chapter. You have an idea for a crime novel and you know exactly how you want it to unfold and how it should end. But you're struggling with the first chapter because you don't know how you want to open the novel. You have read hundreds of crime novels before and you realize that some of the openings are often predictable. Some would even call them cliché, as they happen often and they often lead into scenes that are similar to others. You may find this to happen in movies as well, as a movie will open with a dramatic scene but then continue on to a relatively calm scene where the protagonist has yet to learn about the events that you have just watched.

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There's nothing worse for an author to get stuck in this #Creative cul-de-sac where the only opening you can come up with are those that you have read 1000 times. They're generic, they're cliché, and they are simply overdone. You may want to come up with something really creative and cool, but you struggle with finding that right example. You want to do something that hasn't been done before but you can only seem to think of things that you have read before or experienced before yourself.

Avoiding those common prologues and first chapters

According to Writers Edit, there are many generic and clichéd openings that you want to stay away from. Some of them include characters waking up because of an alarm clock, characters being involved in a dream sequence, or a description of the weather.

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How many novels have you read where the book starts off with, "It was a gloomy day in a small town..."

Other clichéd openings are third-party person descriptions of the #Main Character, especially in terms of his appearance, a first-person narrative for the reader to be introduced to the protagonist, or a foreshadowing of events that just seem to ruin everything that the novel has going for it. It's important that you come up with a creative introduction that allows your story to unfold without revealing everything up front.

Readers want to be surprised and not relive the past

Some readers will put the book down if they feel like the introduction has been overdone. It may be easy for you as a writer to rewrite an introduction that you have experienced before where you talk about the weather or have the main character introduce him or herself to the reader. But don't be afraid to start your book another way. You can even start it in the middle of the sequence, or start with your main character doing something completely normal, like eating dinner.

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"He put the fork down and decided to eat the fries with his bare hands. It was something that his mother had told him that he should never do because it revealed his bad manners. But his mom wasn't around anymore and she hadn't been around for years. She had left him and he had to fend for himself. Perhaps he was holding a grudge against his mother as he kept dipping his soggy fries into the ketchup, using a bit more force every time. Maybe he was angry at her. He didn't quite know himself."

In this opening alone, you learn a lot about the main character. He learned that he clearly has some issues with his mom, and you learn that he's frustrated. None of this has to do with the weather, a physical description of the character, or a first-person introduction.

How do you get creative with your paragraph openings? Do you use prologues to introduce a situation to your readers? #writing