8 Ways of Grabbing Your Reader from the First Sentence, Pt. 3 of 3

In which the Octopus provides tips 6 through 8 and a concluding statement.

Our final installment will feature the last three ways of grabbing your reader from the first sentence.  Of course there are probably many more in the world worth using but I sincerely hope that these articles have given you some new tools to try when starting a new project.  Without further ado, my inklings, I give you the last of our list.
6.  Blunt Force Introduction:

“The Landon sisters looked as stately as ever in their matching coffins.”

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8 Ways of Grabbing Your Reader from the First Sentence, Pt. 2 of 3

In which the Octopus offers Tips 3 through 5

Welcome back, my inklings.  On March 26th, we started a discussion about how to grab your reader from the first sentence of your story.  Today we’ll continue with a few more methods designed to intrigue and excite your reader.

Note: If not otherwise attributed, any example “first sentence” is my own creation provided only to prove concept.  I may eventually revisit these sample first sentences and turn them into full stories.

3. The Contradiction:

“It was only after my grandfather died that he really began to talk to me.”

Often a contradictory statement, the reader is propositioned with an intriguing juxtaposition of concepts that they can only make sense of if they keep reading.  Continue reading

8 Ways of Grabbing Your Reader from the First Sentence, Pt. 1 of 3

In which the Octopus provides an Introduction and Tips 1 and 2

The mythical first sentence; for your book, it is the phrase that launches one hundred thousand words.  For your reader, it’s almost like your book’s pick up line.  You’re trying to inspire the reader into getting into a serious relationship with your story.  This is about more than just making a good first impression.

The first sentence is sometimes your only chance to snatch up a potential reader’s interest and propel them headlong into your story.  Write a great one and your reader will dive in and not look back.  Write a bad one and, well…take a look at this: Continue reading

Short Story: The Last Voyage of Richard Breen

Hello, my inklings!  This short story is the result of my St. Patty’s day writing prompt.  I highly recommend the exercise, especially randomly rolling up your combination of story elements, since it gave me the chance to practice building a plot and characters according some factors that were out of my hands.  It felt great getting something worth sharing out of what started out sounding like a tall order.  Write like an octopus and squeeze through any gap, my friends!

“The Last Voyage of Richard Breen”

By Robert JV Christensen

Richard Breen was a man of numbers unsuited to life at sea, but never the less there he was.  The wobbly horizon rose and fell from the view of his porthole window like an indecisive painting and the rising sun cast its errant beams about the room whenever it came into view.  Richard held both hands over his eyes and tried to imagine that he was anywhere on solid ground.  Someone wrapped at the door. Continue reading

Writing Prompt: Holy Pirate Leprechauns, Octopus! It’s Irish Folklore in A Random Genre!

Octopus vs.Pirate Leprechaun

Hello there my Inklings!  Are you having a great Tuesday the 17th?  I hope so.

Since it happens to be St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I’d try prompting myself with a traditional Irish folklore monster in a style and setting that I wouldn’t normally expect to find them.  Feel free to try it for yourself.  I chose to randomly roll up a combination using the dice roller at random.org (https://www.random.org/dice/).  For traditionalists, I have included the possibility of a Fantasy story set in the Dark Ages featuring a folklore creature.

Even if you decide not to write something, I highly recommend the folklore info links below for some Irish themed St. Patty’s day reading. Continue reading

To Give Them Life, Get to Know Your Characters

People act and react in accordance with a hidden set of rules that are unique to each one of us.  Our own sort of hierarchy of priorities.  Far more complex than a simple set of physical drives that need fulfilling in order of urgency we act emotionally, spiritually and intellectually in addition to the physical.  People can be very hard to figure out but so long as they are of relatively sound mind they can usually be understood if you can get to their core motivations.  Start with yourself.  What did I do today?  Why did I do that instead of something else?  It’s okay for the answers to seem obvious, you are you after all.

We need to craft characters who are just as complex as real people so that even when they surprise and confound us it further reveals their inner motives.  Continue reading

Consistent Motivations Make Fake People Real

https://rjvchristensen.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/octopus-reading2.jpg?w=700Readers can be a fickle bunch.  They will believe whatever an author says about the story unless their suspension of disbelief is strained too far.  We have to respect readers because of what they bring to the story even while we’re manipulating their emotions in order to make the story impactful for them.  The writing is really only one half of the endeavor.
We writers need an audience to take our characters and bring them to life in their imaginations.  The reader is willing to take our story and believe it emotionally, if only while they’re reading, unless they hit a snag.  Continue reading