Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hooked from the beginning

Write several opening lines to a story that begin, a la Dean Koontz, with "a named person and some sort of immediate interruption to normality" as James Bell describes in Plot & Structure. (Koontz made it a practice to come up with opening lines regularly as an idea generator.)

Begin with something the reader can relate to as having an emotional impact on the character.

If you'd like something to work with, cut up the following and make two piles. Draw one from each pile. Feel free to change the form of the word.

Chamilsaya
Ranem Zarker
Rothkal the Magnificent
Sundast Ganbaatar
Fumblewit
Vicious Dog
Jochi
Susan Fysher
Amphelice Groby
Marjolaine Lalande
Zoé Babin
Edward Purser
Doom the Battlehaunter
Analena Torilles
Grumbledoof
Orlando Blood
Aziel
Plague Heart
Hilda Quackenbush
Sara St. Clare

apple cart
T. Rex
funeral
manhole cover
phase weapon
decaffeinated
proselytize
chalkboard
declassified
estranged
miscalculate
spellbound
sabotage
little white lie
tangle
haven
enchant
curse
pirate
rite
insane
astrology
ghost
beef stew
comet


Some examples from Dean Koontz:

Katharine Sellers was sure that, at any moment, the car would begin to slide along the smooth, icy pavement and she would lose control of it. — Dance With the Devil, written as “Deanna Dwyer”

Penny Dawson woke and heard something moving furtively in the dark bedroom. — Darkfall

Tuesday was a fine California day, full of sunshine and promise, until Harry Lyon had to shoot someone at lunch. — Dragon Tears

In his onyx-walled room in the occupation tower, Hulann — a naoili — had disassociated his overmind from his organic regulating brain. — Beastchild
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