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5 types of novel openings

5 Types of Novel Openings

5 types of novel openings

The opening line of any novel plays a significant role for any reader. It is as important as making a good first impression. You can offer it in several ways – mysterious, introverted, concealing the true self, or perhaps expressive and detailed. Your first impression however depends highly on the mind of the people and how they visualize and comprehend things. As a writer the purpose is always to stay in the mind and rule it with words, plots, and imagery for as long as possible. One of the ways to instantly have your readers on chokehold is with a good opening and prologue. Here are 5 types of novel openings to make your plot stand out.

Scene Setter

This is the most used way among the 5 types of novel openings. In this process, the readers don’t get familiar with the action. But, rather they get along with the characters on a journey to reach the action. This type of novel opening allows the readers to get familiar with the setting and the character. It is an essential aspect of any novel to entice people so that they get keen to read and reach the epilogue. You must utilize this way if you want to portray a particular feeling instead a certain plot or character. Especially, when we talk about fantasy novels, the setting is as significant as the protagonist. Books like Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hunger Games, The Grapes of Wrath, and more shows the importance of a setting.

Conflict Beginner

There is a huge percentage of readers who likes fast-paced books. What better than prefacing a novel with exactly what the readers are looking forward to? The kind of conversation where you know what happened but now you want to know how it reached that point. You just have to build up the tension and then you can progress the novel with the details. Remember only readers who prefer the genre you are writing will find it interesting. So, if you want to start your writing with a bang, keep the genre in your mind. This could be a risky opening for any novel because there are chances of your conflict seeming rather flat as a beginning.

5 Types of Novel Openings
5 Types of Novel Openings


Autobiographic novel openings are reflective such as Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie where he begins his story by sharing the details of his birthplace. If the paragraph is written rightly it can create an intimate feeling between the writer and the reader. The first-person narrator manages to express an idea or personal feelings. It not only shows the outside world from the eyes of the protagonist, rather it portrays the perspective of the protagonist about what he is seeing. One aspect that can develop a remarkable first-person narrative is a soliloquy.


When it comes to journalism there is a restriction in starting an article with a quotation, however, we don’t have that restraint in fiction. Writers often begin their work with a quotation even from the first line. If the quote sounds effective it will compel the readers to learn about the speaker. It works in several factors – you are offering a specific notion regarding the character/speaker; the reader will find themselves in the middle of an unknown plot; you are providing several conjectures of the detailed storyline.

5 Types of Novel Openings
5 Types of Novel Openings


What if you don’t create a conflict and also try to make it mysterious? And rather, just do both? How about you create an opening line that develops the conflict, as well as the reader, surmise what is about to happen? Like The Healer by Aimee Bender – “There were two mutant girls in the town: one had a hand made of fire and the other one had a hand made of ice.” In this way, you have already given a massive detail about the characters simultaneously readers are keen to know what is about to happen due to this feature. This type of opening can fall flat; you need to be confident with your technique and the strangeness of the plot.

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