mabfan (Michael A. Burstein) (mabfan) wrote,
mabfan (Michael A. Burstein)

Story beginnings

A thread in tanaise's LiveJournal inspired the following post, which I've decided to reproduce here:

This thread inspired me to take a look at some of my own openings, to see what I've done. Here's a few examples of opening paragraphs I've used:

1. Tony put on the spex and scrunched his hands into the tight datagloves. He pushed a button on the right earpiece, and the world around him changed.

2. No one saw the first four explosions. Only two people witnessed the fifth explosion, and it killed one of them.

3. Stasis felt unreal.

4. Sarah Jacobson's hands shook as she parked her clunky Volkswagen across the street from the old suburban house in which she had grown up. She sat there, breathing in the gas fumes from the idling engine, as she watched the reporters swarm all over the front lawn.

5. Morning, afternoon, and evening no longer existed, at least as far as Kel was concerned, despite just waking up from a long meditation. He awoke as always: floating in the darkness of space, among spaceships, a huge junkyard of them in orbit around one of the yellow-white stars of a binary system. Beyond lay nothing but empty space, and the distant stars of the galaxy, pinpoints of light sprinkled all around like--like--

6. I'm dying.

Having looked at this, I have to admit that I'm kind of fond of # 2, 3, 4, and 6. The first one and the fifth one seem weaker to me.

That said, I think they all do what I would hope an opening would do. Each one has a promise of something different, something changing, something interesting. The story questions that come up are easy for a reader to grasp:

1. How did the world change?

2. Explosions? If no one saw them, how do they know about them? And who died?

3. What's stasis? What does it mean to feel unreal?

4. Why is Sarah so nervous? And what are the reporters doing there?

5. Where/when are we, that day doesn't exist and a man floats in space?

6. Who's dying? How will he or she deal with it?

Hm. I feel an article for Writer's Digest coming on... :-)

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