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Three Ways to a Killer Opening Line

Three Ways to a Killer Opening Line
By Diane O’Connell When you first crack open a new novel, there’s so much riding on that first sentence. I know it sounds a bit extreme, but hear me out — aren’t opening lines that immediately pull you into the novel’s story world so much more invigorating and intriguing than lackluster ones? A powerful and utterly interesting opening line can not only draw readers into your novel, but also hint at the overarching themes your work explores in a deep and lasting way. Here are 3 ways to open your novel: 1. It was the day my grandmother exploded. Did you just ask yourself, “What? Often, the best of these jolting lines have short, choppy syntax, or contain phrases that are downright confusing to readers (like the one above). 2. “Picture a summer stolen whole from some coming-of-age film set in small-town 1950s.” Gorgeous, almost poetic prose can sweep readers into your novel’s setting, as this opening line does here. A vibrant opening like this also sets the tone for the rest of the novel. 3. Related:  skillsécriture

How to Structure A Story: The Eight-Point Arc By Ali Hale - 3 minute read One of my favourite “how to write” books is Nigel Watts’ Writing A Novel and Getting Published. My battered, torn and heavily-pencil-marked copy is a testament to how useful I’ve found it over the years. (Even if you’re a short story writer or flash fiction writer rather than a novelist, this structure still applies, so don’t be put off by the title of Watts’ book.) The eight points which Watts lists are, in order: StasisTriggerThe questSurpriseCritical choiceClimaxReversalResolution He explains that every classic plot passes through these stages and that he doesn’t tend to use them to plan a story, but instead uses the points during the writing process: I find [the eight-point arc] most useful as a checklist against which to measure a work in progress. So, what do the eight points mean? Stasis This is the “every day life” in which the story is set. Trigger Something beyond the control of the protagonist (hero/heroine) is the trigger which sparks off the story.

Setting the Scene - Four Ways to Put the Reader in the Picture Whenever you start a new scene or chapter in your story, it is always a good idea to orientate the reader. The reader wants to identify with a character, get a sense of place and time, and understand the needs of this character right before the conflict or tension starts. In a way, the writer can think of these as scene markers. Character markerSetting markerTime markerGoal marker The basics For example, you could open a scene like this: Greg stood barefoot on the warm wooden deck of his holiday house in Clarens, looking out at the Maluti Mountains. Take a different approach Of course, you could play with each of these markers as you become more experienced as a writer. Deep space Indeed, you could create abstract elements in each marker to intrigue the reader and pull them in, taking them in to the story from a different viewpoint or using an unusual narrative voice. Whatever approach you chose, keep in mind that no story exists in a vacuum. by Anthony Ehlers

How to build a fictional world - Kate Messner The world building strategies of popular books like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter have been analyzed in great detail by writers and critics alike. The NPR piece “At Home in Fantasy’s Nerd-Built World” continues the conversation, taking a look at the magical creation of George R. R. Martin’s world in Game of Thrones. If you’re ready to create your very own fictional world, it’s great to start by reading lots of examples – and read like a writer, studying the craft of world building. Pay attention to the details and ask yourself why the author might have made the choices he or she did. When you’re ready to move forward, you may want to use author Kate Messner’s world building worksheet as a guide. Author/educator Kate Messner’s science thrillers Eye of the Storm and Wake Up Missing may serve as additional mentor texts for writers who want to build their own futuristic worlds.

The Almost Totally Random Writing Exercise Generators You're the Inspiration... Several years ago, I saw a random paring generator on a friend's website, and thought it was neat, but wanted something a little less specific for my own use, since I liked to choose my own pairing. I created The Almost Totally Random Writing Exercise Generator, with input from ElmyraEmilie to generate writing exercises to inspire our writing muses. The premise is that each prompt included a technical parameter (such as pov, word length or writing time), a writing style or character type parameter, and a word or phrase for inspiration. Any parameter was subject to inspiration, of course, as the object was merely to get writing. The Almost Totally Random Writing Exercise Generators are based on the random pairing Generator by Glowstick Chick (and tweaked by others, including docmichelle - her version is here)

Useful Sites for Beginners to Creative Writing Jul 20, 2011 Creative writing can be a fun and satisfying pursuit, but getting started is often intimidating. Check out the following websites for writing prompts, style tips and other essential resources for beginning poets and creative writers. Writing Prompts Find yourself staring at a blank page? Get your juices flowing with a little help from these sites: Creative Writing Prompts - Over 300 quick story ideas and inspirations. Mechanics & Style Good grammar, tight mechanics and a strong personal voice are essential elements to good creative writing. OWL - Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL) covers just about everything writing-related. Writing Forums Not ready to join a 'real life' writer's group? Writing.com - This forum for writers of all skill levels has been operating for over a decade. Other Resources Writer's Digest - The website for the Writer's Digest magazine offers a huge range of resources in one place: forums, style tips, creativity prompts and much more.

6 Ways to Hook Your Readers from the Very First Line Although I consider myself an avid reader, I must admit I have a short attention span when it comes to getting into books. If you fail to grab my attention in the first few lines, I start spacing out. Most readers are like me. Most people don’t want to spend the first 50 pages trying to get into a book. Here are a few things I find annoying in the first lines of a story: Dialogue. The last thing you want to do as a writer is annoy or bore people. (N.B. 1. Put a question in your readers’ minds. “Those old cows knew trouble was coming before we did.” 2. By starting at an important moment in the story, your reader is more likely to want to continue so he or she can discover what will happen next. “It was dark where she was crouched but the little girl did as she’d been told.” 3. Description is good when it encourages people to paint a picture in their minds. “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” 4. 5. “They had flown from England to Minneapolis to look at a toilet.” 6.

Main Character: How To Kill Your Protagonist There are many reasons writers decide to kill off their protagonist. The trick is to do it for the right reasons and in a way that won’t make the reader stomp off in a huff. If you’re a writer considering doing away with the main character (MC) in your short story or novel, we’ve got a few tips to keep in mind. In 1893, thousands of English readers canceled their subscription to The Strand when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes. When Tony Soprano was killed in the season finale of The Sopranos—well, we’re assuming he was whacked, as the tension built and the screen suddenly went black—the audience had no choice but to accept it. Alice Sebold took a different—and highly successful—approach to killing off her main character. “These were the lovely bones that had grown around my absence: the connections—sometimes tenuous, sometimes made at great cost, but often magnificent—that happened after I was gone. Be somewhat realistic. Ronnie L.

The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations is a descriptive list which was created by Georges Polti to categorize every dramatic situation that might occur in a story or performance. To do this Polti analyzed classical Greek texts, plus classical and contemporaneous French works. He also analyzed a handful of non-French authors. In his introduction, Polti claims to be continuing the work of Carlo Gozzi, who also identified 36 situations. Publication history[edit] “Gozzi maintained that there can be but thirty-six tragic situations. This list was published in a book of the same name, which contains extended explanations and examples. The list is popularized as an aid for writers, but it is also used by dramatists, storytellers and many others. The 36 situations[edit] Each situation is stated, then followed by the necessary elements for each situation and a brief description. See also[edit] References[edit] External links[edit]

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