POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE
It Starts With a Word
By Nandy Ekle
The way to start a story is with a word. Can’t be just any word—it must be the absolute perfect word. Choose it carefully because it has to capture your reader and not let them go until they read the last word.
So you find your word and you know it is exactly the right word to start with. To this perfect word, you add another word, and to that, another. Soon, you have a sentence. And this sentence starts your story. At the end of this sentence, your reader should be so enrapt that walking away from your story is impossible.
But if you stop with one sentence, your reader will walk away after all. So you must put together another sentence. And then another, and another. Before long, you’ll have an entire paragraph.
Paragraphs are very important. For one thing, they are tools to give your story logical organization. Since a paragraph is a group of related ideas, it gives your reader a sense of what comes next, leading them in the direction you want them to go.
Paragraphs are also used to emphasize points. There are instances when you need an idea to stand out on its own. If you separate this idea away from other words and sentences on the page, your reader gets the sense of boldness.
Another thing paragraphs do is make the page appear more inviting. If you have a page of one sentence after another, no breaks, the reader feels like they have run a marathon. There’s no stopping place, no place to take a breath. This will cause them to get tired and give up before even getting to the end of the page.
So your paragraphs lead the reader through, building the story one paragraph at a time, one sentence at a time, one word at a time, you create a chapter, which has the same uses as paragraphs, but on a larger scale.
And then you have your book. And this is the pay off.
Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.