The Opening: Wednesday Words

This is supposed to be a writer’s blog. I detour into all kinds of other things that interest me, like the photo contest WordPress runs each week and the occasional review or commentary, but at heart I’m a writer. I want to get back to that core. So I’m starting a new regular feature here: Wednesday Words.

Each week I’ll post a line or two from something I’m working on. I might just drop it here and see what people think, or I might say something about its purpose and how I put it together. Sometimes this might lead to a longer post about something relating to writing, or a link with something else I’ve read. We’ll see how it plays out together.

Since this is the first Wednesday Words, I’m starting at the beginning. This is the opening I’m using in the current draft of my WIP.

Worst. Halloween. Ever.

It began with a wedding, which certainly didn’t help. At least I wasn’t a guest, so I didn’t have to wear uncomfortable shoes or make small talk with distant relatives. I was working, wearing the dowdy maid uniform Jana insisted on, longing for my tight jeans and loose sweatshirts. Meanwhile, this cute young couple stood there and promised forever to each other. How does anyone do this? I can barely stay in one place long enough to find the good bagel shops.

There are lots of things to read about openings, including this from Janice Hardy’s Fiction University. An opening is supposed to accomplish several goals. Let’s see how I’ve done in these 84 words.

  • Introduce the protagonist. We don’t know her name yet, because it’s written in first person, but I think we can get a sense of whose head we’re in. It’s a woman, someone who has a bit of a snarky attitude about some things, particularly weddings. She’s a drifter who doesn’t stay around long.
  • Introduce the setting/world/environment. We’ve established that this is set in the present day and that we’re at a wedding, but one experienced from the point of view of someone working there (in a dowdy maid uniform). There’s not a lot of romance here.
  • Introduce some kind of conflict or stakes people can care about. This is where the opening I have is the weakest. It opens by saying that it was the Worst. Halloween Ever. This hints that something is about to go wrong, but what? There’s no way of telling. I have to hope that the character’s voice and this hint at what’s to come will be enough to get the reader into the next paragraph, where a problem will be raised.

What do you, my loyal followers think, about these Wednesday Words? I’d love to hear your take on them. Thanks!

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One thought on “The Opening: Wednesday Words

  1. Pingback: WordWacker’s 3rd Birthday | Word Wacker

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