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‘Like a chess game’

July 14, 2011

The blog i09 recently explained seven different ways to begin a short story. “A short story is like a chess game,” writer Charlie Jane Anders explained. “The opening is a huge part of whether you win or lose.”

In most of my short story writing, I tend to go with “the mystifier.” I like to open suddenly on a seemingly innocuous moment of a person’s existence, the first few seconds of a new era of someone’s life, or perhaps the moment for us to witness when everything changes forever. The first kiss. That moment when one first senses that love has died. The dawn of someone’s last day on earth.

As I begin to write a story, I’m often already deeply moved by what I know is coming, and the opening of my stories always contain a hint of that deep emotion, like dark clouds building far in the distance, a hint of chill in a warm summer breeze, a half-second of hesitation before a forbidden kiss.

Read the blog entry from i09 here.

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