Tip #20 Start Your Readers in the Middle of the Action

Do these openings work? Does it let the reader jump into the story?

“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.” ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE (1967), Gabriel García Márquez

”It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.” THE BELL JAR (1963), Sylvia Plath

”My suffering left me sad and gloomy.” LIFE OF PI (2001), Yann Martel

From Writer’s Digest on Starting Your Story: http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/by-writing-goal/write-first-chapter-get-started/10-ways-to-start-your-story-better

#19 The Scream, Think Like a Painter and Capture the Moment 

From wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Scream

This is a famous painting by the Norwegian Painter, by Edvard Munch. He wrote in his diary in an entry headed “Nice 22 January 1892”, Munch wrote:

I was walking along the road with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.


How many stories could you write from this one painting? Is one good painting worth a thousand stories? This painting takes one moment from the artist’s life and he paints on his canvas. It’s the right moment, and it’s the perfect moment in the story. 

For your story, find one moment and make it into a perfect painting inside your brain. Then you can write your own story from the painting in your mind.

Author: Chuck Anderson

Chuck Anderson is an art-student, runner, publisher, and writer who lives in Colorado. https://madcow.press

One thought on “Tip #20 Start Your Readers in the Middle of the Action”

  1. I’m enjoying your blogs, Chuck. They’re giving good advice for writing fiction in general as well as to writers of flash fiction.


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