Come For a Ride?

As the third set of lesson plans for Just Fine the Way They Are (“Writer’s Craft”) is posted and ready for you teachers out there to download, I realize how much I like the illustration my graphic designer chose for the “button” that clicks you to those lesson plans:  A car in motion…a car obviously on its way somewhere…a car full of expectant passengers.

Writing a story is like taking readers on a journey.  The first sentence of any story has to assure the reader that, yes, the journey will be worth the read – and the ride.  There has to be a particular confidence in the first sentence of a piece that tells the reader that the writer knows where she’s going.  No one would jump into a car driven by person who says “I’m going to Kansas…or maybe to New York City.”  Neither are readers are likely to jump into a story that feels vague and tentative.

And a writer has to quickly assure a reader that, whatever the destination, the trip will be funny enough or scarey enough or adventurous enough.  The decision to settle into a story – or into the back seat of a car – is a decision to trust the driver’s route and the driver’s destination.  It’s one of the fundamental aspects of good story writing.

Come for a ride anyone?