Wednesday, June 11, 2014

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night...


The August 2014 issue of Asimov's arrived in the mail today.  So I opened it and began reading the openings of the stories one after the other to see which I would read first. (This is a very common practice among readers, though in most cases they're looking to see which they should read at all.) Three stories in, I came to:

It was a dark and stormy night.  But it shouldn't have been.

"We have a winner!" I cried.

That was how Nancy Kress opens "Writer's Block."  Nancy is one of the craftiest of writers, in the sense of knowing her craft inside and out and this is typical of her savvy.  You might think that it's just a "narrative hook" meant to draw the reader into the story out of simple curiosity.  But more than that, the witty use and refutation of Bulwer-Lytton's single best known sentence is an inherent promise to the reader that there will be more good stuff in the story that follows.

In her first two sentences, Nancy gives the reader a reason to stay with the story.

And, yes, not-yet-published-but-working-hard-on-it writers, this post is directed at YOU.

Above:  Nancy Kress and Yours Truly in China.  Have I ever mentioned that I was in China?  And Nancy Kress was there too!  How cool is that?


No comments: