The First Five Hundred

I thought I would take a moment and discuss…writing.

Shocking, I know.

For me, one of my favorite parts of writing is the beginning of a story.  There’s the inherent challenge involved in the craft of creation, of course, but the fun is making sure I can drag people in with me.

Perhaps “drag” is not the best word.  Perhaps “entice” might be more appealing.

I’m going to stick with my original choice though because I often feel like I have to forcefully convince a reader to join me.  And I give myself less than five hundred words to make it happen.

The key, for me, is to throw my readers into action and/or dialogue.  No backstory to start with. No big “landscape” moments.  Usually, it’s a short and dirty introduction to characterization via observation of action or through the words folks say.  My readers have to connect with my characters. I want them wanting to read on and find out why these guys are important.

“But Sandi, it’s just a romance novel…”

I know. But I also know that my readers have endless romance novels vying for their time and entertainment dollar.  Mine have to grab their imaginations, right?  I want folks to jump in and enjoy.

I do this by utilizing as many of the five senses as I can in those five hundred words.   You can, too.  I dare you.  It doesn’t take long to write that many words, but I would challenge you to tell the first part of a story and touch on everything as you do….

And if you do, let me know. 🙂


  1. Marinella · April 27, 2011


    In the “Writing Lab” of my blog there’s a very interesting post (not Twilight-related) about “The opening hook of a story”, I hope you’ll like it:

    And if you want to write a post for the Writing Lab, it would be such a honor for me!!!! thanks and congrats on your work!

    • Sandi · April 27, 2011

      Very cool! Nice blog! And that’s a great post. I like the examples she uses.

      Let me know what topic you’d like me to write on, so I don’t repeat anything. 😉 Thanks for the invite!

      • Marinella · April 27, 2011

        Since you have written so many great stories, would you like to write on a topic that I consider very difficult (and so, it requires a great author!) such as _the building of an outline_?

        In the Twilight fandom I noticed that some stories, although they were very good and supported by their readers, have been abandoned because their authors didn’t know how to continue and complete them.
        I guess these authors had some good and original ideas, but they didn’t build a complete and reliable outline.

        Imagine that you are talking to an aspiring writer: how can (s)he put together the ideas (s)he got? How can (s)he decide if they are going to work or if they are too used? How can (s)he create a story and not just a bunch of good scenes?
        What did/ didn’t work in your writing experience?

        and if you have any other idea about topics you’d like to discuss, you’re more than welcome!!!

        All the best,


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