Elements of the Writing Craft. Part One, Lesson Four: Opening With a History.

Reference: Elements of the Writing Craft, pages 8 and 9, by Robert Olmstead.

The reading opens, “This is the saddest story I have ever heard.”

The lesson:

1.Open a story with a simple truth. Come up with ten lines.

2.Choose one and tell a story from the outside, as in the example. Write an opening paragraph about two characters and how long they’ve known each other.

3. Continue the paragraph and tell the story as if you are discovering something about these characters.

It was the sweetest thing.

She was the busiest woman I ever saw.

Hers was the prettiest face I’d ever seen.

He was the bravest merchant you’ve ever heard of.

It was the most fascinating thing to watch.

It was the craziest notion.

It was the loudest noise. 

I was the fastest I’ve seen a man run.

She sang the sweetest song.

It’s still my favorite story to tell.

It was the fastest I’ve ever seen a man run.  For three months I watched them from my porch. The hunter and the hermit woman. I started to wonder what they were up to when he brought her all the deer he could fell and carry. I began to suspect the usual motivations until from across the valley I could hear her sing. It was the sweetest song I’ve ever heard. The hunter brought her boar and deer and game of every variety. Too late he came to realize it was a beast she was feeding. It made the loudest roar and he fled on winged heels. I haven’t seen anyone climb that hillside since.  

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