Last week I was lucky enough to be teaching at the Writers’ Summer School at Swanwick in Derbyshire. Beautiful place if you haven’t been there. One of my courses was about winning writing competitions. Just for fun we had an opening paragraph competition, which was won by Tony Greenfield. He was kind enough to let me reproduce his winning paragraph.
But first, here are my three top tips for writing an excellent opening paragraph.
- The paragraph must have a good hook – and be intriguing enough to make a judge want to read on.
- The writing must be original and strong.
- We need to care about the character.
Many Congratulations to Tony for getting all of these things right – in a ten minute workshop, I might add. And many thanks to everyone else who entered. There were 50 entries. There wasn’t a bad one among them.
Here is Tony’s winning paragraph:
Eulogies can be wrong
Thank you for coming to my funeral last week. Hundreds of people were there but the only two I knew were you and George. I knew George was there because he spoke a eulogy. He said many good things about my life. My life, he said, had been ordered and planned to succeed. He was wrong. I always ran from plans.