“He knew he would fuck her the moment he saw her.”
“” Call the police if you want. They can’t unrape you.” Kyle dropped the card on the bed. He carefully swept the room with his gaze, checking to make sure that he wasn’t leaving anything behind other than his calling card.”
“Sometimes a person’s aura is so strong, a connection so pure, it’s enough to make a person want to drown in them. They’re the one. You just know it.”
Any writer worth his or her salt knows that it is his or her job to hook the reader on the first page. With the first words, the first lines. So, in the beginning, it’s my job to grab the reader at the collar and say “Come go with me.” At some point during the journey, though, I want to be able to release the reader and have him reach for my hand and say, “Yes. Let’s go.”
Because the beautiful beginning must lead somewhere, it’s up to me, as the writer, to ask myself some questions. What is the goal? What do I want the reader to feel or know? Where do I plan to take the reader? How do I want him to feel when he finally arrives at the destination? So, as I was working through the beginning of the story I’m working on (various beginnings were offered above), I started to think more about the purpose of a beautiful beginning. When I asked myself these questions and answered them, I was finally able to craft the beginning of my story. But that wasn’t the end of my work.
Now came the hard part, creating the terrain, the meat of the story, that would allow my reader to feel that he or she hadn’t been tricked. I don’t want my reader, while reading my story, to drop my hand and turn and look at me and say, “That’s not what you promised. And if they end up feeling tricked, I have to make the end result so much better than expected that the reader feels terribly happy that he or she trusted me and took the ride with me.
I have to follow through on what I promised the reader in those first lines of my story. Because beautiful beginnings are soon forgotten if the beautiful beginning doesn’t lead to an experience that’s unforgettable and almost as beautiful as the beginning. Every writer must learn that in addition to crafting an unforgettable beginning, we have to maintain the momentum as we unfold the rest of the story. If we don’t, we risk losing our captive audience. And, once lost, we may never get their attention again. So, the goal is not to lose them in the first place.
I’d said before that one of my new rituals when I’m writing is to write the words “Be present” on the top of this page. This, thanks to author James Patterson, is a reminder to myself to be present in every moment of every scene of my stories that I’m writing. It’s a reminder to keep my writing from becoming simply a physical act without any real emotion or connection. If I want my stories to make the reader cry, they first have to make me cry. So, yes, I continually remind myself to be present when I’m writing. I owe it to myself as a writer, to my readers and to my characters. They trust me to tell their stories as fully and truthfully as possible and I can’t accomplish that if my mind is somewhere else when I’m telling their stories. Another ritual I began with this story, She’ll Never Tell, the title story for the book of short stories I’m currently working on, is to write the words “Reveal slowly.” I do this to remind myself to slow down and not rush to get everything out on the page at once. I want to have something to offer my reader beyond a beautiful beginning because that’s the point, right? Who wants to experience just a bunch of beautiful beginnings that lead nowhere? We’re all trying to get somewhere when we begin a story and the writer has the obligation to uphold the promise that is inherent in the beautiful beginning.
Here’s to many beautiful beginnings that take you to new and exciting places. And not just when you’re reading. Seems that a beautiful beginning is a good thing, not just when reading a story. And, now during this last week of 2015, seems like a good time to look forward to beautiful beginnings.
Peace & Love,