At the beginning of a written work stands the opening sentence. The
opening line is part or all of the opening sentence that may start the
lead paragraph. For older texts the Latin term "incipit" (it begins)
is in use for the very first words of the opening sentence.[citation
As in speech, a personal document such as a letter normally starts
with a salutation; this, however, tends not to be the case in
documents, articles, essays, poetry, lyrics, and general works of
fiction and nonfiction. In nonfiction, the opening sentence generally
points the reader to the subject under discussion directly in a
matter-of-fact style. In journalism, the opening line typically sets
out the scope of the article.
In fiction, authors have much liberty in the way they can cast the
beginning. Techniques to hold the reader's attention include
keeping the opening sentence to the point, showing attitude, shocking,
and being controversial. One of the most famous opening lines, "It
was the best of times, it was the worst of times ...", starts a
sentence of 118 words that draws the reader in by its
contradiction; the first sentence of Yes even contains 477 words.
"Call me Ishmael" is an example of a short opening sentence. Formulaic
openings are generally eschewed, but expected in certain genres, such
as fairy tales beginning "Once upon a time...".
Inspired by the opening, "It was a dark and stormy night...", the
annual tongue-in-cheek Bulwer-Lytton
^ David Venter. "The
Opening sentence - The Genesis of the Novel".
Retrieved November 28, 2009.
^ Alan Rinzler. "Ask the Editor: The Power of the Opening Sentence - 6
Tips". Retrieved November 28, 2009.
^ Charles Dickens. A Tale of Two Cities.
Iokuouhpubi[b External links