Ever driven a car round a bend and seen another one heading straight at you? At 60mph? It happened to me last week. I swerved into a ditch and it clipped my wing mirror as it bulleted past. Not a good way to start a day but a great place to begin a story…

Why do so many writers get their opening paragraphs wrong?

Here are five big mistakes new authors make - and how to avoid them - based on my experience of judging 3500+ entries to date in the Writers’ Village story contest.

Mistake #1: A start that has too many characters

Good opening passages typically involve just one or two main players. Don’t bring in a cast of thousands or tell the whole history of Renaissance Florence before the action begins.
The UK crime writer Ruth Rendell typically has more than 30 named characters in every novel. Too many? Yet her novels are successful. Why? She limits her characters to just three per scene and makes each character highly memorable the moment she introduces them.
Slip in your minor characters and details of back story naturally, a fragment here and there, as the story proceeds. Limit the cast list at the start!

Mistake #2: A long-winded opener
 Keep your introduction short. The best opening lines are no longer than a tweet on Twitter, say, 140 characters at most. And they pose a question.

To read the rest of this excellent blog post, down to Mistake #5, at The Wicked Writing Blog, Writers' Village, click on the link below:
And for more tips on writing compelling fiction, see Jodie Renner's book, Style That Sizzles & Pacing for Power - An Editor's Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction, available on Amazon, both as an e-book and in paperback.