“Edna, I do not think she is talking about us. We had our openings many years ago, and I’m not ready to close down. I think she’s talking about writing and books.”
“Okay, Ethel. I’ll go along for the ride this time and I hope you are right.”
Yes, this is about writing and books. It could be fiction, sci-fi, non-fiction, romance or any genre, and you gotta grab the reader with the first sentence or first paragraph. Readers have so many things going on in their lives and cannot waste time. It is your job to make them want to stop whatever they are doing and grab your book. Not the question of why am I reading this, rather I’ll read the next chapter and then the next, and the next, and the next.
As a writer, you have created a place the reader can go, forget their troubles, and worry about the characters’ dream and troubles. They could be almost like the reader’s problems, but with a different setting and plot, they are new to the reader. But you have to keep them turning page after page. The plot must be strong and interest them from the opening until the closing.
Closings are where everything that has happened before, the laughs, the cries, the character’s bad side and their good sides must suddenly agree. If you go back to the beginning and see what positions and options you gave your characters, then in the closing you will have such a resonant image that will take you back to the beginning. The promise of dying love fulfilled, a new life, the mystery solved and your characters are ready more action and so are you. Do not disappoint your reader, but have your readers beg and beg for more. Then you have made your openings and closings important for everyone.
Find a book you love and rewrite the ending in a different tone. No, take a pen and paper and write your version. What happens? You throw out your paper and keep what the writer intended for you to read. The same goes for openings. You read a book and think – adjust the opening a little by not giving a real scene for the reader. Oops! Now, you know why the writer started the book this way, and you fell into the spell. Remember, you are playing with your pen and your paper, not the real thing. You are so glad to have the author write the book you love.
“Edna, did you enjoy the ride?”
“Yes, Ethel, and thanks for letting me go with you.”
The next time you pick up a book, go over and over the openings and the closings and make note of what you found. Then when you go write your book, you will know what to do.
Happy Surprises in your Openings and Closings. Happy Writing to all of you.