Saturday, August 10, 2019

Tiff Liao:

Tiff Liao is an editor at Henry Holt Books for Young Readers. She has had the pleasure of editing authors including New York Times bestselling author Tom Adeyemi, Jess Rothenberg, Margaret Owen, K.D. Halbrook, Henry Lien, Kristin O'Donnell Tubb, and Tochi Onyebuchi, among others.

First impressions matter.

Young readers are very exacting. They aren't going to slog through a book. Young readers need to be engaged right away.

Not only are young readers exacting, so are editors and agents.

Treat your opening lines very carefully.

What makes a good opening line?
  • voice
  • action (momentum)
  • character
  • mystery (questions) 
Don't make a promise in the beginning if you're not going to keep it.

Front-loading the opening of the story is a common mistake. Start with the character. There are many more pages for readers to get the rest. Start with a characteristic moment.

Characteristic moment should...

  • introduce key details
  • create instant empathy and/or interest
  • create a memorable scene
  • introduce the strength and the flaw
  • kick-start the plot

A first line that has stood the test of time:
"It is a truth universally acknowledge, that a single man in possession of a good future, must be in want of a wife." -Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Some other great beginnings:

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