Quick Link: Where to Begin Your Book: How to Choose the Best Opening

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Having a strong opening to your story is key in getting people to go beyond the free preview. Award wining author Mary Carroll Moore shares her tips on how to get it right.

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Where to Begin Your Book: How to Choose the Best Opening

by Mary Carroll Moore

Vintage picture frameLots of writers struggle with the opening to their books, no matter what genre. I’m working with one client in my retainer coaching program who is writing a very large story–it spans thirty years or more. It’s a memoir, and a lot has happened to her in her long life, so choosing the starting moment is very challenging for her.

We begin by asking what this book is about. “My life,” she answers, and that’s true. But I ask again, “What’s it really about?”

I’m asking her: What’s the focus? What’s the subject of your story, the part you’re going to include in this particular book? Not your entire life. What will you select and why?

Everything you select for your book, whatever genre, sits within a frame. Imagine a photo frame that holds the photograph of your story. Just like any photo, it shows selected segment, a slice of a life. When you find yourself at a loss to imagine this frame–as my client said, “I can’t not put that in, or that either–that has to go in”–you don’t yet have a frame.


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