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How To Be a Happy Hooker

byRumple Foreskin©

For the benefit of any unsuspecting reader, let me state now that this is NOT an article about how one might become a contented courtesan or smiling strumpet. Nope, not even a titillated trollop. Sorry about that. This assault on good taste and English letters is concerned with the fine art of creating attention grabbing hooks in the opening lines of your next Pushcart Prize winning short story or Nobel Prize contending novel.

For starters, here's the biggest single rule those eager to become happy hookers should always keep in mind. There is NO single rule that can guarantee success. Not one. There are, however, some guidelines that might be of some help, maybe. Here are five.

1. The mission of those first few words at the beginning of your story is to intrigue--not inform--your readers and keep them reading.

Don't fall into the trap of using that priceless piece of writing space to describe people, places or things that can be mentioned later. Consider the following opening line by Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

"Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice." One Hundred Years of Solitude

The reader doesn't know who the Colonel is, or any of the other W's (what, where, when, why). But ask yourself, would including any of that information have made the sentence stronger and the "hook" more compelling?

2. Instead of falling back on description, try to open with action. That doesn't mean you need to begin with a car chase, shoot-out or near the climax (so to speak) of a sex scene. There is, of course, nothing wrong with any of those, especially here at Lit. Just remember that action doesn't have to mean frantic activity. Here are a couple examples:

"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." 1984, by George Orwell

"They shoot the white girl first." Paradise, by Toni Morrison

3. High on the list of things to avoid describing is the weather. Granted, the opening to "1984" includes a brief mention of the climate. But even if you pull off an Orwellian caliber job, editors, agents, reviewers and other such literary flotsam and jetsam seem predisposed to not liking the practice. No doubt this goes back to the infamous opening line from the novel, Paul Clifford, by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton:

"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."

4. One of the better ways to intrigue and thereby "hook" readers is to begin with a question. It doesn't have to be explicit. In fact, implied questions often work best. For instance:

"Nobody was really surprised when it happened, not really, not on the subconscious level where savage things grow." Carrie, by Stephen King

"There once was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb and he almost deserved it." Voyage of the Dawn Trader, by C S Lewis

5. If you feel compelled to use a direct quote, try to make it short, as in, very. The problem with a quote is your reader has no idea who is speaking or the circumstances. Since that can't be established until the end of an opening quote, if it's a long one, there's a risk readers will stop reading to go back and re-read the quote. Here's one example of a great short-quote opening:

"Take my camel, dear," said Aunt Dot as she climbed down from the animal on her return from High Mass. The Towers of Trebizond, Rose Macaulay

That's all well and good, you say, but what about erotic stories? Glad you asked.

Writing, is writing, no matter the genre. To quote the great Dooley Wilson, "The fundamental things apply." That includes erotica. Still, when writing fiction intended for Literotica or lesser sites, there are a couple special items you might want to consider when crafting the opening.

note: The examples that follow are all taken from stories of mine currently posted at Literotica. I did this, in large part, as an act of outrageous hubris, but also to avoid the challenge of trying to pick a few prime examples from among the works of the other (good) writers here at Lit.

Stories in categories such as Incest, Group Sex, and Loving Wives seem to do best when they have a strong, active openings. There are many, award-winning exceptions to that rule-of-thumb and, as mentioned before, the opening does not have to be in a sex scene. For instance, the first example hints at what may be about to happen, while the second opens in the middle of all the action.

"Horny and half-naked, Randi Druitt stood in the open door and studied her kid brother. Some kid." (Randy Comes Home, pt 1 - Incest)

"Donna Faircloth was getting gloriously fucked. Waves of ecstasy surged through her writhing body as the powerfully built man lying between her long, outstretched legs hammered his demanding cock in and out of her very willing cunt." (Nurse Made -- Loving Wives)

In categories such as Novels/Novellas, Romance, and Non-Erotic, readers don't seem to have a problem with openings that are more involved and contain little or no sex. For instance:

"Sensual and seductive, she lay amid the rumpled sheets of the bed where we'd just made love—relaxed and at ease within the golden skin of her petite, perfect body. Not posing, not looking at the camera so much as through it, into the photographer, into me, waiting with an expression of amused tolerance for me to finish and rejoin her." (A Special Photo - Romance)

"The ear-splitting explosion was followed by loud shouts. " What the hell was that? Where'd it come from? Is everybody all right?" In the opinion of Specialist Fourth Class Mark "Bear" Carson, this was not a good way to spend Thanksgiving." (Alive and Going Home -- Non-Erotic)

And in conclusion my fellow writers, let me say that the one rule to always remember about writing fiction in general, and openings in particular, is there are NO unbreakable rules, EXCEPT, don't bore the reader--grab their interest from the beginning and never let go. The writer who can do that, is usually a happy hooker.

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