HOW NOT TO OPEN A SHORT STORY. This is an great post by Mr. Philip Athans. He gives good clear examples of good story openers vs. bad ones. I highly recommend this message to all writers.
A Building at Rest
The museum Thanksgiving Day 2012 –
the museum is populated by a wonderful yet mysterious quiet & peace undisturbed by the frenetic masses. Silences punctuated only by flowing water, the endless hum and shifting of building machinery.
Even normal noises can be unsettling. Especially those associated with people. The building has become a living breathing organism Uttering creaks moans sighs groans from over 140 years of footfalls, voices, radios, songs, cantatas, the chiming of clocks, exclamations of awe & wonder. Whispers from a Victorian century long past to digital diversity.
Oh what secrets lie transfixed within these silent walls yearning for release.
The immortality of brick, mortar & steel record the march of ethnicities & nations who roam free these hallowed halls.
Sometimes the sudden interruption of footfalls becomes ominous, invading the sanctity of the Holy Sanctuary. Even the sound of my own steps is somewhat menacing. What spirits accompany me on perambulations among the saints and sinners?
The feeble burbling of the fountain stream’s half-hearted attempts to empty its essence, struggling to pollinate magnificent coins.
The day is at end, the light has faded. Now the night crew enters to continue the evening melody.
Riders on the Storm
The E Train
Many times as New Yorkers we have some unusual subway rides and strange fellow riders but today I was blessed to have two great conversations. I was on the E train and a beggar came thru the car asking for food. The woman next to me gave him a health bar. After the homeless man thanked her and went by another rider also told the lady what a wonderful thing she did. I also complimented her and she began to tell me that she got the candy bar from the Red Cross. Her elderly parents were just two of the people in Brooklyn affected by Hurricane Sandy. She began to pour out her heart to me and I listened and we talked until I got to my stop. I wished her and her parents well. Sometimes people just need another person to open up with. Someone who will listen and care. Today I was glad to be that person.
The C Train
Part Two: The C train. I met an older Latina sister and her rather exuberant grandson. My Spanish is not all that great but I caught bits and pieces of their conversation. Finally the elderly lady turns to me and asks me if I understand Spanish. I said a little. She then told me her grandson was loco! Now that I understood and we all had a good laugh. Apparently the young man is a Rasta. His grandmother is from Nicaragua. He looked like he was in his 20s. A Nicaraguan Rasta Farian! Now I won’t relate everything he said but we had all had a great conversation from 50th street until they got off at Jay Street Boro Hall in Brooklyn. I certainly got an education on Rasta Fari which I’m somewhat familiar with. Young people are very enthusiastic in their beliefs. The young fellow as very animated. I think his abuela admired my courage and patience in listening to her Loco grandson!
Best of all today I was not Black, white or Spanish. I was not male or female. I was not Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist or Hindu. Today I was just a fellow rider on the subway who took the time to listen to two people who had something to say just needed a person who would listen. Thank you God that today I was that person.