The opening sentence in a fictional story should tempt the reader to continue the story until the next sentence, the next paragraph, until the end. If the first sentence is boring, superficial, or illogical, the reader will stop there.
For novels, the prologue or the first chapter must be able to bewitch the reader to proceed to the next chapter. The challenge for the writer is certainly greater because he must be able to maintain the emotions page by page. Give a spirit to each page so that the character of his character is stronger, the atmosphere is felt, of course it requires writer's hard work.
However, do not let the obligation to make an interesting opening sentence become a burden that ultimately results in us not being able to write. Many beginner writers feel they have to get a beautiful opening sentence, but because of failure ultimately do not write at all. As an exercise, it's okay to write whatever comes up. Can later be edited or revised.
"I have a lot of story ideas, but I don't know where they started."
That's the statement I hear most often in writing training. If I answer, start from the beginning, they claim they don't know which one to start with.
My own experience (because this is also a shared experience and not narcissistic), I sometimes have not gotten any ideas or any conflicts, but can get it all after getting a line of sentences that sometimes just crossed while reading, daydreaming, watching a movie, listening to a friend talk, hear a speech, read the tag line of an ad, see something, feel something, hear music, and so on. That is, to get these sentences do not have to read, but prepare all our senses to get an interesting piece of sentence.
One day, I heard confide in a friend. Suddenly a sentence crossed my mind; WHEN you tell me about what the old man did to you, we cry together. But when you tell me about what you did to the man, I cried to myself.
The two sentences gave me the idea to write the short story My Tears, Your Tears, Our Tears which was published in Kompas daily. From those two sentences, I build an atmosphere, get a setting, get a character and character, get a conflict, and even get an ending.
So, I want to repeat the advice I've heard; don't wait for new ideas to write, but write, then ideas will come.
Technically, there are several ways to open a short story or novel. This is only a theory that is not necessarily appropriate for us, and this theory is also related to writing features which are journalistic products, whereas fiction is not. However, various opening techniques in fiction writing, also use similar techniques, whether the author learns or not.
I also never read a book about feature writing and write it directly based on reading experience. Likewise in writing short stories. Write first, then read the manual and theory afterward, and even then after being asked to become a tutor in a number of writing training.
I like Gabriel García Márquez in opening the story, especially in One Hundred Year Solitude which has now been filmed on Netflix. Márquez mentions an opening sentence as an aquarium that holds many messages. Here is the opening sentence in the novel:
"Many years later, as he face the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father to took him to discover ice."
Amazing, right? But it's good not to imitate anyone in opening a fiction. Being influenced by certain writers is not a sin, all writers experience it. But a good writer must develop his own style. How to get your own style?
We must write and read on. From this struggle, your own style will be found.
The cover of my novel, Kabut Perang (The Fog of War).