An Excerpt from Creating Compelling Openings Part II by Richard Goodman at Gotham Writers’ Workshops and

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Penelope‘s insight:


This is Part II of “Creating Compelling Openings” from The Gotham Writers’ Workshop.  I enjoy critiqueing various opening lines in stories and seeing what works and what doesn’t. If you can create a compelling “hook” right at the onset of your tale, you will bring the reader into your world and he/she will be drawn into your written world.

Here are a couple of my favorites:

“He saw her from the bottom of the stairs. Before she saw him.”

Wow. Can’t you just feel the tension in that one from  Robert Frost’s “Home Burial”?

How about the infamous Ernest Hemingway? His justly-famous short story, “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” begins this way:

“It was late and every one had left the café except an old man who sat in the shadow the leaves of the tree made against the electric light. In the day time the street was dusty, but at night the dew settled the dust and the old man liked to sit late because he was deaf and now at night it was quiet and he felt the difference.”

 A beginning can indicate what we should be looking for, be prepared to think about, and to see in a story. How we should focus our attention. Read the entire article for some additional story openings that will leave you wanting for more.

 *****This review was written by Penelope Silvers for her curated content on “Writing Rightly”*****

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