It was in a public speaking class where I learned the importance of the opening line and I think it applies whether you're speaking or writing.
Whatever it is, your opening line should make that person seated in the last row in the auditorium ignore whatever it is they're thinking about—or doing— and look up and listen. And it's the same with your writing.
Grab your reader's attention with your first sentence.
One that makes them want to read the next sentence and then the next, until there are no more to read.
Not sure how to get started? Let me know if I can help.
Is it any wonder?
I asked myself that this morning. Is it any wonder people so often talk and write about the weather?
I suppose it's because it's always there ... the forecast ... in some parenthetical way. We mostly go about our business, but if a storm is brewing, if there's a shift in the humidity, the heat, the cold, or the dew point, there's an underlying awareness. Even animals sense a shift in the barometer.
It's hard to ignore.
Hurricane Henri hit southern New England yesterday and continues to lash the area with gusty winds and plenty of rain.
Watching the news updates and warnings, I noticed a flag graphic ... a hurricane flag. So I looked it up and discovered:
If a hurricane is brewing, it's two flags:
- one red flag with a black square in the middle signals a tropical storm
- fly two together and there's a hurricane on the horizon
Using research and detail in your writing
It's the sort of detail that adds depth to your writing ... especially if you're writing about hurricanes.
The biggest weather event I can recall is the 1998 ice storm here in Maine. Overnight the landscape changed. It was as if we had been transported and put under glass, like in a snow globe. We woke to a world where everything was coated in ice. Everything. Tree boughs bowed under the weight of the inch-thick ice that encased them, power lines sagged, and the crack of trees branches snapping under the weight sounded like rifle shot. We lost power for a week and recorded a low temperature of 34°F ... in the kitchen.
There's no flag for that
It's a story I could write about, but it brings no joy, no overarching lesson I want to revisit, so I'll leave it be.
But I do want to write about snow.
And you? Is there a weather event so vivid in your mind's eye you might want to write about it? Grab the Story Inventory and see what comes of it.
The Story Line blog is where we share short story memoirs, writing tips, and more.