“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
“Through the shredded black clouds a fire moved like a dying star, falling back to earth —
the earth, that is, of the Discworld —
— but unlike any star had ever done before, it sometimes managed to steer its fall, sometimes rising, sometimes twisting, but inevitably heading down.
Snow flowed briefly on the mountain slopes, when it crackled overhead.
Under it, the land itself started to fall away. The fire was reflected off walls of flue ice as the light dropped into the beginnings of a canyon and thundered now through its twists and turns.” – Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum
These People is a way to start a book not with immediate action, but in a way that makes us interested in what is going on because these people aren’t the sort we meet on our regular walk around the park.
These people grabs with the sheer weirdness of what these people are thinking/doing/talking about.
Mind you, after that you have to hook them with your plot, because, well, you can just keep flashing fascinating people in front of the reader, one after the other. Or rather you can, but then nothing holds together and even the fascinating people become boring after a while. Read more
So, continuing our ways to open a story or a novel (yes, I promise after this, in two or three weeks, I’ll do possibly a hands on workshop on how to bring your readers up to date on a series with style and grace) today we come to “Something’s Happening Here” or, in other words, opening the story with movement.
Humans are like cats. They see movement, they follow. There is something that instantly rivets us to an action scene or even just to movement, but particularly undecided movement. Read more
Barnes and Noble continues trying to give signs of life, and looking more and more like a corpse twitching long after it’s dead. Read more
This opening often sounds like normal life, but… You get a feeling you are in a tall tale almost right away.
So today we’re going to examine the technique of opening a story called “cool story bro.” It’s not necessarily that different than Wait, What? and one sort of bleeds into the other. In fact, after your Wait, What? opening, you need a good “Cool story, bro,” to keep it going. Read more
The wait, what beginning is best used when you need the reader’s attention right away. You start with a seemingly nonsensical or self-contradictory, or reality-contradictory sentence.
I know there are a million published ones, and I’ll let you quote. I am pre-caffeinated, so my brain refuses to spit up a single one, but I remember one from a workshop (not my work): “It was Wednesday and Smith was dead again.” Read more