A successful story set-up invites this question: What happens next?
The Witch of Whidbey is a voracious reader. So many books, so little time. Here’s one summary of a recently read novel: On Memorial Day 1958 in small town Jewel, Minnesota, the body of wealthy landowner Jimmy Quinn is found floating in the Alabaster River, dead from a shotgun blast. The investigation falls to Sheriff Brody Dern, a highly decorated war hero who still carries the physical and emotional scars from his military service.
The summary is innocuous enough; but what will make The River We Remember by William Kent Krueger a spell-binding page-turner? It’s the Set-up!
Page 1: There's a river; it's in Minnesota; it starts here; flows this way and that; people swim and fish in the river; the river has many fish such as this one and that one; and the channel catfish, bottom-dwelling, mud-sucking, ugly, voracious. Last line: “And this is the story about how the channel cats ate Jimmy Quinn.”
Don't you want to know .... what happens next?
A story is how "what happens next" affects someone who is trying to achieve what turns out to be a difficult goal, and how she changes as a result.
Which books and opening lines do you remember because you wanted to know, what happens next? How do your choices reveal aspects of your own story?