Captivating Your Readers

2016 #ROW80 Round 1: Check-In 11

In addition to the outlines and the planning I mentioned on my previous updates, I started two stories this month. They both sit at a little over five hundred words. Generally, a reader decides if a story is worth it within the first couple of pages. There are two cliches I don’t like to use when starting a story. First, using one of the characters’ names as the first words in the opening sentence, and secondly, starting with dialogue.

Those are my preferences. What about yours?

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3 comments

  1. Interesting post that leaves me wondering because although I edit heavily,I never really thought about exactly what that first line ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ be. I usually read about 8-10 paragraphs before thumbs up/thumbs down.

    I started a short story this month too — as a break from the longer work I’m editing. OK,here’s my first line: We stopped for a week at Padre Island, a small sliver of land off Corpus Christi, right on the Gulf Coast, with black-faced gulls and brown pelicans rising on the constant morning wind.

    Have a great writing week!

  2. Sounds like you’re making good progress. Good for you.
    As to how to best begin a story … I’m going to have to give that some thought. I like to feel as if I’ve stumbled upon life already in progress. So dialogue is fine by me.
    Have a great week!

  3. I think you’re right that it can be a bit of a cliche to start with dialogue and also to slip in the character’s name on line one, though I think it depends on the story, and if you write for certain markets, they may expect it.

    I’ve been doing some short shorts lately for just-for-fun comps on the SFF Chronicles forum site: 75 words or 300, with set topics. So far, I’ve taken a different approach with each one, and I’m hoping it will allow me to broaden my approach, with there being so many ‘rules’ that writers are told to follow these days!

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