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Writing link
by Namaste (namasteyoga)
at July 1st, 2011 (09:26 am)

I've linked to the writing tips articles at the io9.com blog before. (It's science fiction based blog, but the writing tips they provide are fairly universal.)

Here's another one I thought was interesting: Seven Types of Short Story Openings, which also includes this note on why first sentences are important in short stories:

Sure, the opening sentences are important in novels, too. A strong beginning, in a novel, can help provide momentum that will carry the reader all the way to the last page, sometimes in one sitting. But short stories are different: the first sentence, or the first paragraph, often hangs over the whole rest of the story. Many short stories are really about one idea, or one situation, and that's what the opening sentences establish.

Or fail to establish, sometimes.

The examples io9 provides are from sci-fi, of course, but we can find examples from within the Housefic_Meta library as well. For instance, for #6 The Quotation, from blackmare's Down To The Water:

"You never told me," Wilson says, in that quiet tone that means it'll be no good trying to deflect or outrun him, "what you were doing in the bar that night in the first place."


Posted by: flywoman (flywoman)
Posted at: July 1st, 2011 08:59 pm (UTC)

I'm surprised that they didn't list "Begin with the End." Often used to provide a present day framework to reveal the consequences of the drama that will be described in the story, hopefully 1) intriguing the reader and 2) making the tale all the more poignant. Example: Annie Proulx, "Brokeback Mountain."

Posted by: Namaste (namasteyoga)
Posted at: July 1st, 2011 10:11 pm (UTC)

Perhaps that falls under "The Mystifier:" it refers to stuff we don't know about yet. Or it throws us into a situation without giving us all the pieces right away.

"To Kill A Mockingbird" begins at the end too -- "When he was nearly 13, my brother Jem had his arm badly broken at the elbow."

I don't think that's supposed to be an all-inclusive list, obviously, just ways to think about starting a story. If I'd had time this morning (I ran across the blog while I was at work and linked it while waiting for a call) it would have been interesting to find fic examples for all of them, rather than just the one.

Posted by: ReadingRat (readingrat)
Posted at: July 12th, 2011 06:08 am (UTC)

Thank you for the link. It was an interesting read.

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