Choose your favorite opening paragraph!

I need your help! I’m writing my latest work-in-progress and can’t make up my mind on the opening paragraph. Will you please tell me which you like best?

My working title is A Pony Express Romance and this first section takes place on November 30, 1860, in Ellwood, Kansas.

Option #1:

     The prick of his horse’s ears was Josiah English’s only warning of impending danger.
     His muscles tensed as his eyes scanned the roadside for whatever had the horse on edge. A rabbit about to dart from the bushes? A snake in the grass? Or a mountain lion about to strike?
     From nowhere, a rope settled around his shoulders. What? Josiah reached to pull it off, but before he could get a hand up, it jerked tight, strapping his arms to his sides. With a violent lurch, he was pulled from his horse, landing hard on the ground. The breath fled from his lungs and he pushed hard, fighting the weight that threatened to smother him.

Or…

Option # 2:

     “Don’t move, or I’ll shoot yer toes off one by one.”
      Josiah English froze.
     The rope that had settled over his shoulders tightened, strapping his arms to his sides and cinching up his chest. With a violent jerk, he was pulled from his horse, landing hard on the ground. The breath fled from his lungs and he pushed hard, fighting the weight that threatened to smother him.

 

 Or maybe you like a combination of these openings? Feel free to piece together your favorite intro, and leave it in the comments below. Thanks for your vote!

Advertisements

26 thoughts on “Choose your favorite opening paragraph!

  1. I disagree. I love option 1, but would add “Don’t move, or I’ll shoot yer toes off one by one.” at the end of it. I like the fact that option 1 sets the scene – I know where I am and whom I’m with, and I already like Josiah. If you begin with option 2 you will have to fill in with a lot of background.

    Like

  2. Option # 2 pulls the reader directly into the story – and allows that reader to know something is dreadfully amiss without a lot of descriptive prose – it’s a very good hook:)

    Like

  3. Hi Misty – I like option 2 but my hubby likes option 1. I did like Bonnie’s comment to go with option 1 but add the “Don’t move….” line 1 but I felt more drawn into the story immediately with option 2!

    Like

  4. Definitely two- one has a good hook as the opening sentence, but then is too long in the description before the action begins. Two gets your attention immeditately. But I wouldn’t have a rope “settle” over his shoulders. That is too passive. “Cinched around his shoulders like a jack rabbit snarled in barbed witre” maybe. Great start.

    Like

  5. They’re both great! Option 1 seems to get you thinking a little more, while Option 2 jumps right into action. I guess I’d vote for Option 1, if I had to choose. Can’t wait to read more!

    Like

  6. I like Option 2, Misty, and what great comments you have received! And I subscribed to your blog.
    I also really like your mechanics on this blog, like showing your tweets. Did you set it up yourself? Hugs, Elva Cobb Martin

    Like

    • That’s great, Elva! Thanks so much! And thanks for the feedback on the opening paragraph, too! This is a WordPress blog and it was pretty easy to do the set-up myself, once I decided on a theme. They make it fairly easy to add all kinds of feeds, calendars, etc. So glad you stopped by!

      Like

  7. I go for Option 2. I often start with compelling dialog and action and leave the explaining for later. In my opinion Option 1 is too internal dialog heavy for the opener. Just my preference. Best wishes!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s