Ingredients for the Perfect First Paragraph

If you’ve read my previous post on the Ingredients for the Perfect First Page, you will know that strong character building must already be in place before you begin the very first sentence of your novel. However, these are my tips for the perfectly crafted first paragraph. 

Ambitious vocabulary

Make an online thesaurus your best friend. You want to use vocabulary that makes the reader feel ‘ooh this is nicely written’. However, don’t churn out a load of words that will leave the reader having to delve into the online dictionary to find out what the hell you are going on about. Simply use evocative synonyms. 

Powerful verbs

If there is any action in your first paragraph make sure it is crisp by using powerful verbs. Ban verbs such as walking and running from your vocabulary. Try my powerful verbs vocabulary list.

Variation of sentence structure

Make sure your first paragraph contains the right balance of short and long sentences. But only use short sentences if they are going to be dramatic and impactful, otherwise, there is not much point to them. Check your use of commas when using long sentences, there is nothing worse than a long-winded sentence without the proper use of commas.

A range of punctuation

Most first paragraphs just use full stops and the odd comma, but why not throw in an ellipsis? Or a dash? Make your writing feel exciting.

In the middle of the action 

As mentioned in my previous post readers want to be plunged into the middle of a scene and left to play detective. They do not want to start at the beginning of a scene, that’s boring and predictable. Start in the middle of a conversation or in the middle of an important event … it makes your reader more enticed to continue and find out what is going on.

See more tips on – Beginning a novel. 

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Image sourced from Pixabay.


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