Category: On Writing

Second First Sentences

Happy All Saints Day!  Don’t forget to ask your favorite Saint to put in a good word for you with the man upstairs.  That’s what they’re here for! Today we continue our look at the first sentences of stories you can find in the most recent issue of Cirsova...

No NaNoWriMo Fo Jo Mo

Nothing against it, just seems counterproductive for a writer in my position. Writing a novel in a single month represents a considerable challenge for new and old writers alike.  Tapping into the inspirational support of a host of like minded writers can be a great help, especially when you...

More First Sentences

Yesterday we looked at three opening sentences of classic pulp stories.  Today let’s take a closer look at three contemporary short stories published in Issue 9 of Cirsova Magazine.  One of the best of the current crop of short fiction periodicals, Cirsova makes for a great case study because...

First Sentences, Examples From the Pulps

In the interests of learning from the masters, here are a few examples of evocative first sentences taken from a random scattering of works.  As with yesterday’s assignment, consider how each sentence hooks your attention, declares stakes, identifies the mood and genre of the piece, and then take a...

First Sentences – An Exercise for Readers and Writers

First impressions matter, all the more so when you’re writing a short story.  Having just dropped three to twelve bucks on a novel, a reader might give you a few pages to correct for a rough opening.  When you’ve only got a few thousand words to get in, shake...

Writing Advice for RPGs

Like many writers, my first real storytelling experiences came about through tabletop RPGs.  Like many gamers, I found the fiction sections included with most RPGs to be wasted space.  Even worse were the needlessly convoluted backstories to otherwise simple adventures, and despite (or perhaps because of my) owning and reading...