The first goal for any writer - whether they are writing for academic publication, writing fiction or journalism - is to hook in the reader and make them want to keep reading. To do this you need to make a good first impression.

Beginnings have always been important to all forms of writing. Good writers understand that making a big impact with a punchy first line is an effective way to entice the reader to read on. In novels, often the only quote we can remember is the opening line. It follows therefore that we should aim to deliver our best writing for openings. In academic writing this also includes the opening of the abstract, the introduction and the conclusion. We would even suggest that the opening line of each paragraph should demand special attention.

Opening lines can be really hard to write. How many first lines of fiction can you think of? What makes them compelling? What devices do they employ?

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