My online friend, J.R. Lindermuth, is my guest today, talking about beginnings. Read on for some great tips!
Your first sentence should draw the reader in. The second should compel him to continue reading.
That isn't sage advice from some great writing seer. It's my admonishment to myself as I begin each new story or novel. I've been using it since a reviewer said she was "hooked after page three" about an earlier book.
Page three is too darned late to hook most readers.
People have short attention spans and we writers need to perk their curiosity from the beginning. And the best way to accomplish it is with an opening that inspires "who,""what" or "why?"
Richard Wrights great novel "Native Son" (1940) begins with:
The second line is taken up with explaining it's the sound of an alarm clock, which diminishes the impact. I don't think it would work today. Modern readers are not patient critters.
On the other hand, Elmore Leonard's opening for "Glitz" (1985) begins:
The night Vincent was shot he saw it coming.
Now who wouldn't want to know more about that?
I hope I've accomplished something similar for Shares The Darkness with “She didn’t come home last night.” You know someone's missing. Hopefully you'll want to know why?
Here's the blurb for my latest, Shares The Darkness, seventh in the Sticks Hetrick crime series:
Jan Kepler and Swatara Creek Police Officer Flora Vastine were neighbors and schoolmates, but never close.
When Jan, a school teacher, avid birder and niece of a fellow officer, goes missing and is found dead in a nearby tract of woods Flora finds herself thrust into the middle of an examination of the other woman's life, as she searches for clues.
As usual, the police have more than one crime to deal with. There’s illegal timbering and a series of vehicle thefts taking up their time. And there are other is
sues to deal with. Flora is concerned there’s some
shakiness in her relationship with Cpl. Harry Minnich who seems to be making a
lot of secretive phone calls.
Still Flora maintains focus on the murder. Despite evidence implicating other suspects, the odd behavior of another former classmate rouses Flora’s suspicion. Flora’s probing opens personal wounds as she observes the cost of obsessive love and tracks down the killer.
Bio: A retired newspaper editor, J. R. Lindermuth has published 14 novels and a non-fiction regional history. His short stories and articles have been published in a variety of magazines. He is a member of International Thriller Writers and is a past vice president of the Short Mystery Fiction Society.
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/jrlindermuth
FB author page: https://www.facebook.com/John-Lindermuth-175253187537/?fref=ts
His books are available from http://torridbooks.com/
Barnes & Noble and from other fine bookstores.