The fifth installment in my series of how to open a short story and hook your reader focuses on addressing your reader directly, which compels him to feel part of your story. In a monologue, the main character often does this, as if he/she is confiding in the reader and sharing his/her story e.g.:
- Just one more, that’s all I was going to take. You know that, don’t you? You understand. Well, they didn’t. And they wouldn’t listen. Looked at me like I was dirt.
- I hate that old cow, Mrs Vickers. Lives at the end of the street. You’d hate her, too. I expect you’ve got one just like her at the end of your street – one that sticks her nose in everyone’s business. Still, she got her comeuppance last week, let me tell you.
In the opening to these two monologues, see how you feel as if the characters are appealing to you personally and how involved you already feel in their tales.
Another way of addressing the reader is to ask a question e.g.:
- Why would they do that to him? George shook his head. Well, he’d show them. He wasn’t going to stand for it.
- How many times did he have to tell her? No, he hadn’t seen Darren that night and no, he hadn’t killed him.
With a question, the reader feels he’s being asked directly and so has a need to find out the answer from the story.