Ahh, aren't those the most exciting words in the world? You read them and you know everything's gonna be okay, because there's a good story coming up. And if you think about it, any story could begin with "Once Upon A Time." But, of course, the writer wants to make things more interesting.
That's what we're talking about in writing class this week. Opening Lines. Arguably the most important part of your whole story. If the beginning doesn't catch the reader, nothing will. It's like a magic spell that you have to try really hard to master. And once you do, you've got the reader in your power.
Don't you love those books that you just can't put down? I think to myself, "Okay, just two more pages. I really should turn off the light before one o'clock." And then an hour later I'm like, "Okay, I'll just finish the chapter." And before I know it I've sighed over the last line and closed the book contentedly. That's what great stories do to people.
Great stories also change the way we think. This is true for me, anyway. I will spend days after finishing a book dwelling on the moral and philosophical aspects of it, and puzzling out the more obscure concepts. That's what I call meat. A story without meat is just a plot with characters and a setting. With the meat, it comes alive. Because we deal with intangible concepts in real life, every day. Whether we realize it or not, we constantly think about things in a hypothetical light. When making a decision, we predict what would happen if we chose one way or another. That's meat in real life. Meat in stories is just the conceptual stuff that makes us really think things out. Stories don't seem real if they don't have meat.
I'm off to cook some meat in my story!