Thursday, February 19, 2009

“In today's fast-moving world, the first sentence of your short story should catch your reader's attention with the unusual, the unexpected, an action, or a conflict.” -- Dennis G. Jerz in Short Stories: 10 Tips for Novice Creative Writers
I’ve posted comments on this topic before, but the advice is worth repeating.

My goal for an opening sentence/paragraph is to provide a strong enough hook to force the reader to continue to sentence/paragraph two. Here are a couple of my openings. Would you read on?
Her knees hurt from kneeling on the kitchen floor, but what choice did she have? She had to keep eating. -- The Ultimate Diet
Sharon stepped into the alleyway behind Metzer’s Hardware, turned an ear toward the street and listened for any sounds of trouble. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Barry perched on the first floor balcony outside his mother’s apartment. She clutched the canvas bag with the day’s receipts to her chest and took a step toward the street. -- Young Love
If I were to track such things, I bet I spend more time rewriting the openings of my stories than I do on any other section. I'm probably at the point where this isn't a good thing. It's time I concentrate more, or at least as much, on middles and ends.

1 comment:

Dennis G. Jerz said...

I'm very glad to hear that you found that handout helpful, but please note that it began as a project by my student, Kathy Kennedy. Although I do continue to maintain and update the site, in the title tag of that page, I have credited the authors as "Kennedy and Jerz," which I think is a more accurate citation.