First Chapters · querying · Writing

Thrillers/Mysteries: The Murder Opener

If you already follow me on Twitter you may have seen my post about too many thrillers and crime stories starting off with a murder and yes, I see it in most of my thriller submissions. While many people like an opening murder and some TV shows rely on it, it doesn’t match my personal tastes and I want to discuss why. Now what exactly do I mean by the murder opening? I mean so many books follow this formula: Someone dies violently to grab reader attention. Protagonist gets introduced. Protagonist finds out about the murder and investigates.

First off, the murder beginning has become overdone to the point that it no longer stands out in my slush. Remember, agents are reading way more first chapters than your average Joe and we take notice of trends and common openers. We get hundreds to thousands of queries a year. For every book with this opener that gets published, I see many more go unpublished. Openers that I haven’t already seen a hundred times are what stand out to me in the slush. Sure authors have used that opening to great success, but once everyone starts doing the same thing it no longer stands out and some readers tire of it. I’m one of those readers. I’m sure there are others who can’t get enough of it. I think the main reason I tire of this opening is because I don’t often see it done well in the slush. Great writing can change my feelings toward this opening. Continue reading “Thrillers/Mysteries: The Murder Opener”