"There's no point in spending your life in the pursuit of something that's easy." - Alice Kuipers

Monday, February 18, 2013

Great Beginnings

A few days ago I responded to a writing prompt on a Wattpad Workshop led by Alice Kuipers. It was about writing great beginnings, which is a skill every great writer needs (and one I'm not sure I've mastered yet). How many great books have been put down and never finished because they failed to pull you in right at the beginning? I have so many books I want to read that if one doesn't pull me in within the first couple of chapters, I give up and move on. And those are the lucky ones to have made it that far. If I'm standing in a bookstore, trying to decide on a book, I'll read the first page. If I'm not immediately filled with desperation to know what happens next, I don't buy it.

So, the challenge was to write the beginning of a story or novel using the phrase "A storm is on its way" and try to make it irresistible with only 400 words. Alice was kind enough to give feedback on the entries, but I thought I'd also like to share my entry here and let you be the judge of whether I was successful or not. Tell me, have I created an enticing beginning? Enjoy.

“A storm is on its way.”
I wish I could get that line out of my head. That and the way she’d looked at me when she said it. She tried to play it cool, bending over my palm, frizzy black hair falling across her face. But I could still see the frown lines decorating her face, the creases in her forehead. Her mouth tight and straight as a pin.
“It can be a good thing,” she reminded me. “Storms bring renewal, they cleanse.” But we both knew it wasn’t that kind of storm.
I tried to remind myself that I didn’t believe in fortune telling as I walked home, trudging along the sidewalk. Fall was in full swing, the leaves dancing across the sidewalk like kids at play. I’d only done it for fun, I told myself. They’re all fake anyhow. It was how they made their money. They made you want to come back and learn more. They made you desperate.
Despite it all, I couldn’t rid myself of a growing sense of foreboding. Every shadow seemed to be reaching for me, their sharp fingers stretching out long and narrow. Every object seemed full of malice. The swings at the park seemed to shriek, the mailbox on the corner gaped at me with its open, hungry mouth.
When I got home I locked the door behind me, taking the stairs two at a time, pushing my bedroom door closed behind me. It was all just make belief. That fortune teller couldn’t actually tell the future. I moved towards the window and peered out around the curtain. It was bright and sunny, not a cloud in the sky. It should have reassured me, but it didn’t. A storm was on its way, I could feel it in the pit of my stomach.

1 comment:

  1. Just had my "Writing Life" fix. Words marched into my brain, kicked around the cobwebs, fluffed up the grey cells, took their shoes off, put their feet up and settled in. Thanks Mel.