Escape Artists
September 21, 2017, 05:36:59 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News:
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: 1 [2]  All
  Print  
Author Topic: Hooks and openings  (Read 5028 times)
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8656



WWW
« Reply #20 on: June 29, 2015, 09:14:11 AM »

Quote
It's heavy on iambs, which makes it singsongy,

I admit that, though I have read a bunch of Shakespeare's plays and seen them performed, and I understand conceptually what iambic pentameter is, I do not recognize it and so cannot write in it.
Logged
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8656



WWW
« Reply #21 on: June 29, 2015, 09:17:05 AM »

I'm in the middle of a slush window for Diabolical Plots, so have been thinking about openings as I read dozens of other people's stories and what works for me.
http://www.diabolicalplots.com/guidelines/

For me, personally, my favorite openings in the group have been those that made me laugh--especially something so startlingly weird that it shakes a laugh from me before I even finish processing the sentence.  Not all of the stories in my hold pile had a laugh beginning, but that was the way many of them did it--the story that followed it wasn't always funny, sometimes it was just funny because it was so outside of normal, but a laugh beginning is a good hook.  Of course this advice is hard to pull off because humor is so subjective that what I find funny many others won't.
Logged
joelsommers711
Extern
*
Posts: 1


« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2015, 06:36:32 AM »

New to the forum, so thanks already for all the great threads.  I didn't really need to sleep this evening anyway.   Cheesy

I tend to fall in love with a story or a novel based on the first few lines.  It's a resume' on which I'll decide if I'm going to hire that writer to spend some really intimate time with me.  My advice for anyone crafting their opener is just this:  fall in love with it. 

Writers shouldn't have any trouble affixing outsized pride to their pages, but nothing should sing to you as much as your opener.  If you find yourself skimming over it to get to the part you're actually excited about reading, that probably means  you need to lop off whatever it is you're skimming, and just let the part you want to read first actually be first. 

Finally, speaking to the points about starting with a fight or some action:  it's always welcome, if it's organic.  But don't install it there for its own value.  Think about the first RAIDERS OF THE LAST ARC  movie.  Such a great opening sequence.  It drops us in the middle of an adventure that tells us everything we'll need to know to fall in love with the character and the story.  It even sets up the vulnerability that'll play for high tension later ("Snakes....why did it have to be snakes?). 
Logged
Not-a-Robot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 851


Now 100% biological and 3 x more optimism!


« Reply #23 on: August 26, 2015, 06:37:06 AM »

I like to look through the classics for openings and hooks.  I find that, not only does a great opening hook the reader, but it also characterizes the story. 

For instance, The Catcher in the Rye starts with a monologue in dialect.  It tells you that it is going to be curt.

Anna Karanina starts with a truism, characterizing the philosophical tone of the story, if not the entire story. "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way ."

Catch-22 has a confusingly funny first line (once again, just like the book):
"It was love at first sight. The first time Yossarian saw the chaplain, he fell madly in love with him."

The Christmas Carol is playful (as opposed to Tale of Two Cities or David Copperfield):

Marley was dead: to begin with.  There is no doubt about that.  The register was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner.  Scrooge signed it: and Scrooge's name was good upon change, for anything he put his name to.  Old Marley was as dead as a doornail."

Cat's Cradle goes from:

"All the true things I am going to tell you are shameless lies" to "Call me Jonah.  My parents did, or nearly did.  The called me John." 

A contradiction followed by a silly allusion and another contradiction...  At least the reader knows what they are getting into...



« Last Edit: August 26, 2015, 06:43:57 AM by Not-a-Robot » Logged
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8656



WWW
« Reply #24 on: October 09, 2015, 03:01:06 PM »

A couple recently sold stories

Tamers of the Green

   Jori stood with her friend Hordan at the edge of the stone flats watching the writhing green.  Hordan stood so close the surges in the green came within arm's reach and Jori twitched to pull her friend back to safety.  The green withered to brown and stilled, only to surge forward again. 


--Meant to provide an interesting worldbuilding puzzle for the reader to sort out.  A sense of danger, but a danger that isn't a typical danger to us.


My Wife is a Bear in the Morning

NOTE: When I say that my wife Xiang is a bear in the morning this is not an expression.  I do not mean that my wife is hard to wake and is rude and surly upon rousing.  I literally mean that my wife is a bear in the morning.  Yes, I know what "literally" means.  Yes, I am using it correctly. 

--Gets the premise across right away, names one of the characters and sets up the relationship with the protagonist.  As well as giving some sense of the epistolary format, and the somewhat annoyed tone of the whole thing.
Logged
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8656



WWW
« Reply #25 on: December 01, 2015, 11:29:13 AM »

Divine Intervention
"Ready yourself," Abigail's smooth voice sounded in George's ear.  "The perimeter of Heaven is two blocks ahead and around the corner."

The intent of this one is to immediately set up a tense situation with the "ready yourself", touch a bit on the nature of Abigail (who is a Med Assist device attached to George's ear, and to interest the reader in how Heaven can be around the corner when Heaven is usually not.  (In this case, "Heaven" is not an afterlife, but is the slang name for a drug slum that houses a techno-drug cult that considers themselves enlightened)
Logged
Pages: 1 [2]  All
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!