March round robin – what draws you into a story?

I haven’t written a post this month because I should have been away from base on an exciting holiday. Like so many other people, I’m not. Flights cancelled and a curious sort of half-life carrying on.

Not writing the post doesn’t mean I have no views on the issue. I have. As a short story judge for many years, people’s openings would drive me to distraction. I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW WHY IT ‘HAD BEEN A BAD DAY’.  As this statement was usually followed by a list of enticing snapshots (not), like the toothpaste sprayed all over his designer suit it slowed everything down and prevented the reader getting an immediate understanding of what this story is about.

My aspiration is to achieve as good an opening as Hugh Scott did in his Whitbread prize winning, Why Weeps the Brogan? I was deeply impressed by his reading of it and that feeling of dramatic excitement comes to mind when I try to get my openings right.

Courting the Countess

Melissa stood as still as her injuries allowed. Soapy water drained down her skin into the tin bath, making her shiver in the night air. A tiny breeze riffled through the steam and made her wonder if the bedroom door had opened?

“Allow me, ma’am. Your maid is unable to come to your assistance.”

The opening of my Scottish regency poses several questions a reader may find intriguing, if not in this book exciting and dramatic. How was Melissa injured? Whose is the voice? Why is her maid unable to come?

Others in the group have posted and you can find their rather more crafted thoughts here:

Victoria Chatham
Skye Taylor
Helena Fairfax
Judith Copek
Diane Bator
Dr. Bob Rich
Fiona McGier
Marci Baun
Connie Vines
Rhobin L Courtright


2 thoughts on “March round robin – what draws you into a story?

  1. I like your spin on the topic, and your example of what puts you off from carrying on reading. In a novel, I’m put off by the discovery of a dead woman’s body on the opening page. It usually makes me put the book down.
    Very sorry you are still in Scotland. I hope we all see better days very soon.


    • Hi Helena, I recently went to a Noir in the Bar evening. I was interested in the number of crime novels that start with an intriguing description of a decent character who is then murdered. It puzzles me, but then it may be the crime writer’s method of ensuring a dead body doesn’t put the reader off by allowing them to bond with hm/her first. I’m sorry our travel is disrupted, but really relieved not to be stuck in quarantine abroad. Three cheers for social media, anne


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