Hi fellow writers
I have been asked to provide some helpful writing exercises, that are intended to help your writing skills improve.
An exercise which I use frequently(and my favorite), especially while on the bus or waiting in lines, is what I call the First Sentence exercise and is designed to help you improve your opening sentence. Here’s why an opening sentence is important.
The first sentence of any work of fiction, especially a short story, is meant to entice the reader to keep reading, by offering a glimpse of the rest of the story to which questions pour in to see more. Ideally this prompts the reader to read the second sentence and the one after that for the answer.
For example the opening sentence of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” by Hunter S. Thompson reads
“We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.”
A great opener, and the immediate question you would ask is what are the drug effects? One could also ask why are they somewhere around Barstow, or where are they going even as they are somewhere around Barstow? Questions that would undoubtedly push you to read on.
First Sentence Exercise: Here’s how it works
1. Find the opening sentence of any story of which you haven’t read before (this is important)
2. Write it down
3. From there just write what you think the rest of the story is supposed to be until you haven’t got any idea where to progress from there (I usually do around a half page or 250 words)
4. Read the real story and compare
If you haven’t read “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” yet then you can use the example I provided above. For those who have already the the book here’s another one
“He could count himself a king of infinite space were it not that his name was Roger Carstairs and he was just an actor.”
“John-A-Dreams” by Steve McGarrity
If you wish to read the actual story, this is from a on-spec magazine, #87 vol 23 no 4 with a elephant climbing on top of a dodo on the cover, and can be found in the North York Public library