openingBe careful not to start with a volcano.  It’s a hard act to follow. Rather opt for a REVEALING  opening, that promises something worthwhile.

Get your reader to care about your protagonist right from the beginning.

A beginning does three things:

  •  Gets the story going and shows what kind of story it’s going to be.
  • Introduces and characterizes the protagonist.
  • Engages the reader’s interest.

In my opinion, this opening has never been equaled, at least for a children’s story:

  •  “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?”  (Charlotte’s Web, E. B. White)

For a helpful and interesting look at openings, see Kristen Lamb’s Blog

 Today we are going to tackle a highly confusing subject for many writers—In medias res. In medias res quite literally means in the middle of things. This is a literary tactic that has been used since the days of Odysseus. It is a tactic that forces the writer forward, to begin the story near the heart of the problem.


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4 responses to “Openings

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