This is a rather long article on “Creating Compelling Openings”, but well worth the read. Beginnings are the most important part of your story, and if you miss the mark here, you might just lose your reader for good.
“They call me Ishmael.” “None of them knew the color of the sky.” “They threw me off the hay truck about noon.” All irresistible openings. Why? They show a compactness and a confidence and that transfers to the reader.
Another opening technique that is simple and yet highly effective, that is, grouping things in threes. Laura Hillenbrand’s nonfiction book, “Seabiscuit: An American Legend”, opens this way:
“In 1938, near the end of a decade of monumental turmoil, the year’s number-one newsmaker was not Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Hitler, or Mussolini. It wasn’t Pope Pius XI, nor was it Lou Gehrig, Howard Hughes, or Clark Gable. The subject of the most newspaper column inches in 1938 wasn’t even a person. It was an undersized, crooked-legged racehorse named Seabiscuit. “
It’s a matter of rhythm, of melody, but it’s also a matter of symmetry. There are numerous iconic examples: yin-yang; two-faced Janus; the masks of tragedy and comedy; before and after, and so on.
It’s a matter of rhythm, of melody, but it’s also a matter of symmetry. We usually associate that word with a one-on-one relationship. The left side is symmetrical with the right side. There are numerous iconic examples: yin-yang; two-faced Janus; the masks of tragedy and comedy; before and after, and so on.
*****This review was written by Penelope Silvers for her curated content on “Writing Rightly”*****
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