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Hook, Line and Sinker — Story Openings (Part 2)

In my last post on this topic ( Part1) we covered some of the basics of story openings or hooks.

Going back to my opening line from The Mask of White and Red:

Ilsa’s first memory was of fire.

Something is clearly wrong when someone’s first memory is of fire. There’s no nurture there, only trauma. We instinctively know that there must be a reason for that. There must be a story there. It intrigues us. It entices us and we read on to find out more about Ilsa and learn what happened to her (the What question) and then finally why this happened to her (the Why question) as well as what she’s going to do about it. And ultimately, will she prevail? Your first line needs to set all of this up. If it doesn’t, Discord is going to win.

Andrew J. Savage was born in Australia where they trained him as a lawyer and put him to work. After escaping the sand and the sea, he now lives in Japan with his wife and two children. If you look at him silhouetted against a bright light, you might see the hole in his heart where he says his dog should be.

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Baby in the Blender: How I Learned to Love Critique

We all write for different reasons, but sometimes I think that deep down, I think part of the motivation for writing at all is that we want to be loved. Just a bit. Maybe that’s why we take it so hard when people point out the flaws in our writing. It feels like rejection, and it hurts.

Let me paint you a picture.

Andrew J. Savage was born in Australia where they trained him as a lawyer and put him to work. After escaping the sand and the sea, he now lives in Japan with his wife and two children. If you look at him silhouetted against a bright light, you might see the hole in his heart where he says his dog should be.

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Hook, Line and Sinker — Story Openings (Part 1)

The Hook

Distractions. The world is full of them. The modern world even more so. There are a thousand things a potential reader could be doing other than reading your story (or novel, or screenplay, etc.). Even a reader who is willing to cooperate–who has made the commitment to spend time in your story with you–still has thoughts going off in the back of their mind. The siren call of their phone, the expectation that their kids will come home soon, the ever-present question about whether they really did turn off the gas. There are any number of reasons why even the most willing reader will put your story down. Then there are editors.

Andrew J. Savage was born in Australia where they trained him as a lawyer and put him to work. After escaping the sand and the sea, he now lives in Japan with his wife and two children. If you look at him silhouetted against a bright light, you might see the hole in his heart where he says his dog should be.

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