Polls, Story: The Visitor

Help me with the opening hook.

I recently finished writing and self-editing my short story, The Visitor. I then gave it to my wife for her opinion.

Much to my dismay, the opening paragraph I had worked so hard on, did not appeal to her. She felt it was “too quick.”

Of course, being a strong proponent of a good opening hook, I disagreed, but since I sometimes fail to see the forest for the trees, I’ve decided to get some of your opinions.

I am posting the opening paragraph of The Visitor below, and–in spite of my last poll being a dud–I am asking you to vote below with your response.

The corn was waist high the summer Leroy Jenkins’ dog sensed the visitor’s arrival. The dog startled Leroy from his nap as it bolted into the field, growling and barking with a vigor Leroy hadn’t seen in years.

6 thoughts on “Help me with the opening hook.”

  1. Maybe: Leroy was startled from his nap by the dog dashing into the waist high corn, growling and barking with an urgency he hadn’t seen in years.

    Your version suggests a telling of a past story, which you’d have to explain in a following sentence. Also, I know corn is waist high in the summer, so that is redundant to me, though I know it might not be for everyone. In a second sentence maybe talk about the summer heat: -The heat of the day pressed on Leroy’s ability to come out of the haze of his sleep, so he wasn’t sure what had caused such a reaction from his canine friend. – Then lead into the visitor’s arrival?

    Or go another way: -The visitor’s arrival came with a fanfare of growls and barks………

    Isn’t Leroy the one whose supposed to go running into trouble? 😉

    Hope this helps 🙂 I’d love to read the finished story! Thanks for letting me flex my editing/writing muscles.


  2. I think it’s very good, but maybe sharpen it a little by removing the (as) in second sentence and the (and) instead add a few extra commas. Makes it a little more punchy and more life like. But feel free to disagree!

    “The corn was waist high the summer Leroy Jenkins’ dog sensed the visitor’s arrival. The dog startled Leroy from his nap, it bolted into the field, growling, barking with a vigor Leroy hadn’t seen in years.”

    I was looking at a book I’ve been writing the other night, I had a break for a few months and when I got back to it, it was amazing how many tiny little words weren’t as necessary as I thought. I like to think of it as weeding the novel. Sometimes very small adjustments is all that is needed. 🙂


  3. Thank you Fit n Fashionize and SuzyHazelwood for taking time out of your day to help me with this. You both had fabulous suggestions. I will chew on them and consider incorporating them into a revision. Or I may just rewrite the opening paragraph entirely. Much contemplation to do. Again, I greatly appreciate your input.


  4. I meant to say by the way, I don’t think it’s ‘too quick’ I guess I’d have to read a larger piece of it to be completely sure of that, but the way the first three sentences read seems quite normal to me. A lot of novels begin in the middle of an active scene. I think it’s often a personal preference ‘how’ a novel begins. Some readers like to be lead in gently, while others like to drop right into the action or thoughts of the main character. I don’t mind either, as long as it written well.

    I don’t know if you’ve ever posted any writing on a writers website? You might get a little more feedback on your writing. I like to visit Jottify, they are a friendly bunch. http://jottify.com/ It’s always good to post writing that’s not too long and specifically ask in your post for what kind of feedback you are hoping for, because some may be reluctant to suggest ideas otherwise. Also worthwhile reading/commenting on other work, as it gets you more noticed, so many new writers arrive on there and neglect to read other writers work and their own pieces can sometimes sadly get ignored. Anyway, you might find it useful! 🙂


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