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Tuesday, October 5, 2021

How to Start a Story

Unlike bombastic journalism that relies on opening with a bang, a novel can open less loudly. Here's an example of a bang opening by Truman Capote in "Children on Their Birthdays": "Yesterday afternoon the six o'clock bus ran over Miss Bobbitt." Yes, this catches our interest, but what next? It'll be hard to match the intensity of the beginning with what follows. The story starts with a climax rather than working toward one; instead of looking forward, we look backward, and the whole story might be an anticlimax.

Josip Novakovich, Fiction Writer's Workshop, 1995 

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