Getting started can be a huge obstacle to overcome. Faced with the prospect of having to start a new story every day we can start second-guessing our ideas, our style, our ability…All of this makes getting started even harder.
Steal An Opening
Go to your bookshelf and pull down a book you admire. Look at the first paragraph. How does it start? Is it a description of a place? Does something dramatic happen? Does someone talk?
Look at the structure of the opening and use it for your own stories (this is how apprentices have always learned, they copy their masters’ work, and gradually find their own style). Copy your master-writer’s structure, but insert your own details.
For example, I pulled Ursula Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea off the shelf. Its opening sentence is,
The island of Gont, a single mountain that lifts its peak a mile above the storm-wracked North-East sea, is a land famous for wizards.
(Isn’t that a great sentence?)
My story might begin,
The Arcologie Sando, a huge fractured semi-dome that rose up from the rock-strewn desert floor, was famous for producing arcolonists.
OK, hers is still better, but borrowing from the master, gave me a way in to my story.
Go to your bookshelf and steal an opening line from the best. Make it your own, and see where it leads you.
2 thoughts on “Daily Prompt – May 7: Steal An Opening”
What an interesting thing to do. I have just opened and read the first lines of twenty different authors and found it fascinating what drew me into the story, what a wealth of information goes in those first sentences. 🙂
That’s a good idea!
“this is how apprentices have always learned, they copy their masters’ work, and gradually find their own style” <– That's so true! I do that a lot, and it really makes your own work better (writing and other work)