The Definitive Guide To The First 30 Characters Of Your Writing

On the internet, you have a mere 10 seconds to grab someone’s attention before they move on to the next article. And in that time, you must capture their heart, mind and gut all at once.

They say that you should never judge a book by its cover and that may be true; but it’s also true for just about everything else out there, including content titles (which are often referred to as “covers”).

The same holds true of your writing: The first 30 characters of a piece are crucial. They show readers whether or not they should continue reading your work or move on to something else. Those first 30 characters will make or break them.

So here is my definitive guide on how to write those 30 characters so that people stay with you and keep reading for much longer than 10 seconds in fact, maybe even hours!

Write Great Characters – step by step – How to Write a novel
1. The initial 30 characters of your writing are crucial for capturing reader attention.
2. These characters form the first impression and set the tone for your content.
3. Crafting impactful openings can draw readers into your narrative.
4. Consider the genre, audience, and context when choosing these characters.
5. Experiment with different styles to find the most effective way to engage your readers.
6. Concise and intriguing beginnings can encourage further reading.
7. Ensure that the chosen characters align with the core message of your content.
8. Study successful examples to understand how leading authors approach opening lines.
9. Continuously refine your openings to make them more captivating and relevant.
10. Mastering the art of the first 30 characters can significantly enhance your writing’s impact.

Always Write As A Reader, Not A Writer

The best way to write is to write as a reader, not a writer. This means you’ll be writing from the perspective of someone who’s never read your story before and they don’t know what’s going to happen next. 

They’re reading it for the first time and can’t go back and reread something that happened earlier in the story because they don’t remember it!

You should also always write as if you were reading someone else’s work, rather than yours. It forces you to see how well your story flows for an outsider who doesn’t know anything about your character or plot points yet (and thus won’t be able to anticipate where it’s going). 

You’ll need this skill later on when beta readers give feedback on their experience reading through your chapters; 

If someone feels like they’re lost or confused by anything in there then that could mean there are issues with how information is getting conveyed throughout each section of text as opposed to just one specific scene (or even line).

Lastly but most importantly: always try writing with a red pen in hand while editing other people’s stuff! I find this helps me spot grammatical mistakes much faster than trying

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Start Quickly And Don’t Waste Time

You’re going to have a few ways of starting your story. But don’t waste time trying to decide which one you should use. Instead, just start with one of these four options:

Start with action. If you want to write a thriller or mystery, this is a good place to start. The action can be something that happens in the present or something that happened in the past (like a flashback). 

It could even be a dream sequence! It doesn’t matter which way you go as long as it makes sense for your story and starts things off on an exciting note.

Start with your main character(s). In this case, we mean “main characters” in both senses of the phrase they are key characters who drive most of the plot forward (like Harry Potter or Sherlock Holmes).

But they also happen to be central figures in their own right (think Katniss Everdeen). If there is only one main character then their introduction needs to grab us right away with no more than two lines!

Get To Your Point, Now

Now that you’ve got a handle on the first 30 characters of your writing, it’s time to get to the point. No, not just any point the right point.

At this stage in the game, we’re not looking for flowery language or long-winded diatribes about whatever it is you’re writing about. We want actionable items that are succinct and clear. 

If your reader has any questions about what you mean by “get to the point,” then ask yourself whether there’s something you can do to make sure that they understand exactly what it is you’re talking about from their first read onward.

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Don’t Use “Elementary” Words

In writing, every word you use should have a purpose. When you’re writing your first draft, it can be tempting to throw in simple words like “the” and “a.” This is fine! I encourage you to use them frequently in the beginning stages of your writing. 

The problem comes when we rely on these words for too long and then we find ourselves with a lot of sentences that read like this:

The old woman limped down the street. She looked at her watch and sighed deeply. Then she saw something amazing: A cat was walking across the road! 

The cat was wearing a hat and carrying flowers for its owner who had just died last week from heart failure due to being so old that no one remembered how old she was anyway.

Because they were all so busy trying not to get hit by cars when crossing streets without crosswalks as well as avoiding getting run over by taxis while texting while driving cars since nobody cared anymore since nobody cared about anything anymore anyway ever.

Since they started caring less than before which meant nothing mattered anymore except working hard until death took us away forever into oblivion where nothing existed except darkness forevermore or maybe just maybe not even darkness but instead eternal silence?

Strike The Word “That”

The word “that” is a filler word, and it has no business being in your writing. There are many other words you can use to replace “that” that will add more meaning to your sentences, but unfortunately, most writers don’t use these more powerful alternatives.

Here’s how to fix this problem: If you find yourself using the word “that,” take a moment and ask yourself what you’re trying to say. What is the purpose of this sentence? What do you want your reader to take away from it? 

How else could I say what I want them to get out of my writing in a way that adds more value than just saying “I like reading books because they teach me things about life that I wouldn’t know otherwise? 

That said (lol), my favorite book so far was The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald because he did such an amazing job describing what it was like living during this period.”

Cut Out Adverbs That End In “Ly”

Adverbs aren’t bad! They can add a lot of emotion, emphasis, and clarity to your writing. But they can also be unnecessary. 

If you’re adding an adverb without a strong reason why it’s there, you’re probably just saying the same thing as another word that doesn’t need the extra emphasis at all:

I’m excitedly excited about this new job opportunity!

It would be better to just say “I’m excited.” The adverb is superfluous here because its meaning is already conveyed by “really.”

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Repeated Words Are Lazy Writing

Writing is a craft that requires time, intention, and effort. If you allow yourself to write without these qualities, it shows in your work.

Repeating words is a sign of laziness. Multiple characters in one book saying “you’re welcome” or “I don’t know” or “fine by me” isn’t creative; it shows that the author didn’t put any thought into how their characters would talk. 

It’s also lazy because it takes away from an opportunity for them to say something different or more interesting than what they’ve already said before (which may have already been said by another character).

Using the same word over and over again also means you haven’t done your research: if you’re writing about a different country or culture, there are going to be new words for people who live there that don’t necessarily translate into other languages (like “hello” vs “bonjour”).

Use Action Verbs. Or Whatever Does The Job Best

Action verbs are important. By using active verbs, you’re giving your writing a sense of movement and vitality. You want to make sure your writing isn’t stale or boring, so think about what’s going on in the scene and use actions that show this happening.

You should also aim for specificity. When you’re using nouns or verbs, make sure they’re specific enough to give readers an idea of what’s happening in the scene but not so specific that they can’t picture it themselves.

Finally, be clear and direct with your action descriptions by using strong verbs instead of weak ones like “was” or “felt.”

Be Specific With Your Nouns And Verbs

You might think you’re being clear, but in reality, your writing could be a lot clearer. You want to make sure that the person who reads what you write will understand what it means without having to reread any parts of it. 

This is especially important if you are writing for an audience that does not share your language or vocabulary (for example, if English is not their first language).

It’s also important because using specific nouns and verbs increases readability as well as speed. If someone can’t find the information they need in one sentence, they will probably give up on reading your article altogether before finding out how useful it could have been for them!

If It Can Be Cut, Cut It Out

When you’re editing your work, you need to be ruthless and cut out the unnecessary. Look at every paragraph, sentence, and word and ask yourself: “Does this add anything to my work?” If it doesn’t then delete it. 

Cut out the unnecessary words (that’s not just nouns, but also verbs). Cut out unnecessary phrases. Cut out clauses in sentences that aren’t helping to convey meaning or make your point stronger. 

And when all else fails, cut out entire sentences if they don’t fit with what comes before or after them or if they don’t make sense on their own without being explained by another sentence first (this is called “sentence linkage” in grammar lessons).

You might think that this means removing information from your writing but actually what happens with all of these deletions is that more room is created for other places where there may be confusion around who said what when; or where there could be ambiguity between two ideas which weren’t previously connected; 

Or where someone’s actions are unclear because they weren’t described well enough beforehand all these problems are solved by cutting down on long-winded sentences filled with fluff words like “to say” which do nothing but slow down our understanding of what’s going on!

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Don’t Notate Quotes; Just Quote Them

Quoting is a good thing. It’s an opportunity to share someone else’s words and thoughts with your readers, who may find these quotes as useful as you did in writing your piece. Quotes can be used to show authority or to add variety and rhythm to your writing.

But what do you do when you want to quote someone? Simple: don’t notate the quote; just quote it! Quotation marks are for quotes, and italics for non-quotes (see next section). 

If there is any doubt about whether something should be quoted or notated instead of quoted (for example if the text being cited is too long), then err on the side of caution and just use quotation marks around everything from the beginning until the end.

Use Contractions To Sound Conversational And Increase Reading Speed

You may have heard from your mom, a teacher, or your beloved English professor that contractions are “bad writing.” 

But here’s the deal: using them can indeed make you sound less professional in certain contexts (like academic writing), but they’re still more readable for nonfiction readers than not using them at all. 

That’s because contractions are used in everyday speech and writing so when someone reads something without any contractions, they may feel like they’re being forced to read something that isn’t written with intentionality or authenticity.

Get Rid Of Needless Numbers

This is where you’re going to want to be careful. The first rule of thumb is: to use numerals most of the time but don’t be afraid to use words when they make sense. So if you want to write “forty-seven,” that’s perfectly fine it doesn’t need any numbers at all. 

If your character is counting something, however (like her fingers or toes), then it’s best practice to include the number in words rather than with numerals.

But when do we use numbers? When we have a really large amount of something and our audience needs clarity as far as how many there are (for example, if I were writing about a massive crowd). 

If we’re talking about less than 10 items (like writing about how many people are in a group), then it’s usually better just describe them by name or description rather than giving off an exact number

Cut Out Those Quotation Marks

Quotation marks are a lot like pants, and you don’t need them very often. If you’re writing a story about a guy named Joe who says “Hey, my name is Joe!” then yes, you need quotation marks. 

But if there are no direct quotes in the piece of writing (for example: “Hey, my name is Joe!”), then we suggest getting rid of those pesky quotation marks.

Instead of using quotation marks, try one of these options instead:

Commas: A comma is just as effective as an open quote mark in indicating a pause or an interruption in speech or thought, so if you find yourself in need of these two things but without any direct quotes at hand, try using commas instead! 

This works especially well when there aren’t any actual interruptions (or pauses) being made just use commas were needed to create some visual separation between ideas or phrases; they’ll do just fine!

Em dashes: An em dash can also be used instead of quotation marks when trying to show that someone has stopped speaking before finishing their sentence and will continue with whatever they were saying later on down the line they won’t even realize that anything happened here because it’s seamless enough to go unnoticed!”

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The best writers are always readers. They read good writing and bad, but they can always identify what’s wrong with the latter. 

And part of knowing how to write is knowing how to cut away the unnecessary words, phrases, and paragraphs that bog down your message. 

We hope you found this article helpful in identifying those things so you can prevent them from happening in your writing!

Further Reading

Explore more about character development and writing with these resources:

How to Write a Character Sketch: Enhance your character creation skills with this comprehensive guide on crafting well-rounded and engaging characters.

Your Essential Guide to Characters in Literature and More: Dive deeper into the world of characters in literature and beyond, gaining insights into their significance and impact.

The Secrets of Character Writing: How to Create a Hero Your Readers Will Love: Discover the secrets to crafting compelling heroes that resonate with readers in this insightful book.


What are the key elements of a well-developed character?

A well-developed character possesses depth, motivations, flaws, and a unique personality that drives their actions and decisions.

How can I make my characters more relatable to readers?

Creating relatable characters involves giving them relatable experiences, vulnerabilities, and emotions that readers can empathize with.

What role does character growth play in storytelling?

Character growth is essential for engaging storytelling, as it adds arcs and transformation that captivate the audience’s interest and investment.

How do I avoid creating clichéd or stereotypical characters?

To avoid clichés and stereotypes, focus on giving your characters individuality, complex motivations, and traits that defy conventional expectations.

What techniques can I use to reveal character traits organically?

Revealing character traits organically can be achieved through actions, dialogue, inner thoughts, and interactions with other characters in the story.