Desiree Finkbeiner on The Beginning of Ethos: Morning Star

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Please welcome Desiree Finkbeiner author of the fantasy novel Ethos: Morning Star and Graphic Designer, who willingly subjected herself to being my first torture subject…errr…guest  🙂

Keeping with the Theme of Beginnings – here’s what Desiree has to say about writing the Beginning of Ethos.

Raven:  Did you have issues with it? How do you handle writing your openings? What importance do you put on the first line etc.

Desiree: The first few lines of a novel are the most important. It took me a while to ‘get it’. With so many books on the market, it’s getting harder and harder to impress readers right off the bat. Readers are smart, and they’ve seen a LOT of beginnings. So how will yours stand out?

Some would argue that you’ve got to grab a reader’s attention within the first few pages, but I disagree. You need to grab them in the first few sentences. A reader can gather the entire feel for your pacing from those first few lines.

When writing Ethos, I spent the most time on the beginning. As a reader myself, I don’t want to be bored with background details that mean nothing to me, nor do I want to read a long laborious description about how some unknown character is waking up from a bad dream and what their mother ate for breakfast two days ago… I want to be mystified, hooked and compelled to read on!

My original opening was weak, so I spent several days going through the free excerpts of other top rated books on Amazon, trying to find discover the formula for what grabbed me right away, and what repelled me. The lines that hooked me instantly were the once that engaged me with action immediately; the ones that forced me to ask questions that needed answers.

So my opening line, “Am I going to die?” forces the reader to wonder who, what, when, where and why. Who is this character and why is she so concerned about death? Where did she get hurt and how? What happened?

Sometimes, it takes some creative plotting for your book to have a hook opening. Maybe start in the middle of the action to reel the reader in, then backtrack the plot to important ‘setting up’ once you have their attention.

Each genre may need a different kind of opening to grab the reader. A horror story may need to start out with something like, “…Blood dripped from his chin as he scrambled to get to the open doorway…” Or for a romance, “His breath was hot against my neck, sending chills down my spine, goose bumps forming on my arms and thighs…” You get the picture. Engage the reader immediately, and they won’t be able to stop reading.

Raven: Thanks Desiree! Ethos: Morning Star is available in Kindle form at, with print coming soon – Desiree is working on more art for it!


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