• Richard Lutman

The Short Story: Openings-The transition into your story


One of the most difficult tasks a writer faces is creating an effective story beginning. Because a short story is so brief, the beginning or exposition, must be the right length and serve the correct purpose for what it does.:

Is your opening too long in proportion to the rest of the story?

Is there a narrative hook?

Is there something going on that will catch the reader’s attention? Is the opening clear? Can the reader tell what’s going on?

Start your story at the BEGINNING to avoid the use of had-hads.

Let’s take a look at the story “Uncle Harry Takes A Bath”

UNCLE HARRY TAKES A BATH Uncle Harry wasn’t someone who believed cleanliness was next to godliness. He loved dirt, all kinds of dirt. Without dirt nothing would grow and there would be no earth as he knew it. His blood boiled every time he saw a vacant lot that had been paved over.

Title: Uncle Harry Take A Bath: Why does he have to take a bath? Opening line: Uncle Harry wasn’t someone who believed cleanliness was next to godliness. The reader is now curious as to why he feels this way. Transition: He loved dirt, all kinds of dirt. Without dirt nothing would grow and there would be no world as he knew it. His blood boiled every time he saw a lot that had been paved over. This hints at the coming conflict.

#shortstory #openings

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