Sunday, March 26, 2017

OPENING PARAGRAPHS



Don't you love the way the best magazine writers used to begin their stories? How do you like this opening:

"The floor beneath Conners' feet dropped like a gallows trap. What had been solid, shining mahogany was suddenly a gaping black void. The man shot through space. Down, down, into the darkness below. 

The native servants stood blandly silent. From the opening in the floor came a thump then, after a moment, a horrible scream of terror, that echoed ominously through the room like a banshee's wail.

'For God's sake take me out of here! What is this thing? God, it's coming close to me!"  It's----' "

Very nice. I'll bet nobody ever stopped reading after an opening like that.

How 'bout this one:


"Night, black and rain-swept, shrouded the Kirty Institute for the insane. Gusts of howling wind attacked the ugly gray buildings like seas pounding some bleak, rocky coast. There was the same impression of desolation, of a savagely forbidding place that humans shunned."

"A small car lurched to a stop in front of the guardhouse at the gate. Two men got out, collars upturned, hats pulled low."

Nice. Very nice.

Of course you could argue that the best openings were the most brief.  Here (below) the writer grabbed our interest with just a few words:

"Sally, take that child away. Don't put it down in the dirt."

Huh? The dirt!? Yikes! What the heck was that story about? I found it excerpted in, of all things, a book about grammar, so I have no idea what the context was.

Ah, giants walked the Earth in those days!


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