In school, they teach you how to write. That is, they teach you how to put words together to create a sentence so it makes sense to a reader. Is that writing? Yes and no.
Yes, you are writing, but are you doing it in a way that it captures your reader? Honestly (and this may sting), no, you are not. Simply putting words into a sentence does not guarantee your reader will be moved by the text. Let's take a look at a recent example of mine. This is from my new book Songweaver which will be out the end of 2017. Which opening line do you prefer?
We seek your appearance with all haste. Gray Star Tavern, Fallfell, was all the note said. It came with three rings, one made of wood, one of iron and one of stone.
“Fallfell,” Tomo said, “Thatd be way down south, other side of the great forest.”
“I know.” Why would someone send a message a thousand leagues to hire me? I'm good at what I do, yes, but not so great as to be known throughout the lands.
“Shear, it's time.”
There is one immutable truth to the world. The less I wore the more coins men would throw in my collection pale. It was sleazy, sometimes even obscene, but in a tavern such as this, staring out at a male audience, I knew the number of crowns I received was based more on how much skin showed rather than how well I played.
They are both good openings for a novel (brag, brag) But which one makes you want to turn the page to see what happens next. The first one right. It presents so many questions, you just have to find out what's going to be next. Who seeks her appearance? What is the purpose of the three rings? It’s time for what? She’s good at what? What does she do? I mean, even the text itself gives you a question, “Why would someone send a message a thousand leagues to hire me?” This is the opening to a novel that hooks the reader. People are curious by nature, so give them something to be curious about.
But I don’t write novels, I write emails to friends. Ok, but think about all the emails you get from friends and family. Do any of them excite you? I’d bet they don’t. Your emails, even those to friends and family should be exciting and entertaining. Yes, even the email to your mother-in-law.
Here’s an example:
I've got great news! The book that you helped me create has rocketed to the top of the best sellers list. I know you're not big on flying, but when the book tour hits, you should come along. Leave the hubby behind, he's not going anywhere. It’s a whirlwind tour!!
Hugs, hugs, hugs
Now isn’t that better? It’s a short email (short is better, people are busy), it’s funny, it’s clever and the beginning and ending are uncommon so they stand out.
What do you think? Drop me a note or comment on this blog.
On a similar note:
I am a big fan of K.M. Weiland and her books. They have made a vast improvement in my writing. Please go to her website at helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com She has written several books on how to create novels. Even if you write poetry, or short stories or even emails to your friends, her books are a must read.
DW is an author and an artist. He has been creating paintings and photographs for over 40 years. He lives in Eastern Kansas with his daughter, a large epileptic dog, three cats, and a barnyard of chickens and ducks.