In HOW TO WRITE A DAMN GOOD THRILLER, James N. Frey writes how a good opening sequence should “hook the audience good, so they stay hooked right to the end.”
A writer can accomplish this by creating a situation of injustice–a crucial element in a thriller. Remember, if your hero doesn’t have a quest to stop evil or correct a wrongdoing, then you don’t have a thriller.
Frey gives several examples of the most common used:
1. The Villian’s Dark Mission Opening
2. The “Minor Character in Trouble” Opening
3. The “Hero in Terrible Trouble” Opening
4. The “Hero Already on His Mission to Foil Evil” Opening
5. The Flashback Opening
6. The “Thrilling Climax to Another Story” Opening
And for those of you wondering, James Frey does mention the one opening you should avoid at all costs… the dream sequence. Readers should be immersed in the actual story, not wasting time on something that doesn’t really matter.
So, as a writer, which opening appeals to you?