I did this game earlier this year and it was pretty successful and very fun for everyone, so I figured the holiday season is as good time as any for a redux so that those who didn't participate last time can get in on this one.


Background

We often hear about the importance of the opening in our stories: "Grab the reader's attention otherwise you risk losing it!" or "You have to make a strong first impression!"

While I think there's more than one way to write an effective opening, there is something to be said for strong/memorable opening salvos.

So let's play that same little game here that's incredibly fun, informative, and directly helpful to ourselves and our fellow writers.


The Game

Here's how we play:

  1. Post a 1-3 sentence synopsis of your story. (Try to include character name(s) so responders have something to work with)
  2. Reply to other people's posts with an opening line (or sequence) based on the synopsis they provided.

Obviously, we're kind of hamstrung here because we can't develop a fully-fleshed opening with a few sentences of real estate.

But that's the point of this exercise: not immersive, nuanced, slow-burn openings, but rather the exact opposite. We want to arrest the reader's attention from the very get-go with something that's necessarily both pertinent to and focused on our plot and/or main character(s).

To a lesser extent, this is also a good way to examine the economics of diction (i.e. using the right words, not crowding your writing with superfluous "stuff"). Controlling the volume of our prose is a very underrated skill.

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This can also be a great help for writers who feel that strong beginnings are a weakness in their craft—we could give each other a spark for some openings. Feel free to openly discuss the merits of different kinds of openings and picking each other's brains about proposed openings.

(I'll post one, but I'd prefer if other writers got their work treated—my synopsis is just a sample/formality to get the ball rolling and serve as a guinea pig.)

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