Openings

Your article, your story should open with a bang. Maybe not an explosion but in our world you need something to catch the reader’s attention.

For me, E.B. White in Charlotte’s Web wrote a classic opening:

“Where’s Papa going with that ax?” said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.
“Out to the hoghouse,” replied Mrs. Arable. “Some pigs were born last night.”
“I don’t see why he needs an ax,” continued Fern, who was only eight.
“Well,” said her mother, “one of the pigs is a runt. It’s very small and weak and it will never amount to anything. So your father has decided to do away with it.”
“Do away with it?” shrieked Fern. “You mean kill it? Just because it’s smaller than the others?”

Notice how much information the author conveyed without us knowing it. The setting. The family. And most important – the problem.

Another point – E.B. White broke the ‘rules.’ You’re never supposed to open with dialogue, because the reader doesn’t know who’s talking. Notice how well and how effectively he breaks this rule.

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