Gotcha, didn't I? Grabbed your attention and now you want to know what this big, old BEWARE is all about, right?
It's about grabbing attention, grasshopper. Which seems simple enough, but it's one of the hardest parts of writing. It doesn't matter if I'm writing a funny column, a short story, a book chapter, or an article about office chairs, that beginning is what always takes the longest for me to write! And here's why: I know if I don't grab a reader in the beginning, I won't have that reader sticking around till the end. Unless the reader's my mom. And even then, there's no guarantee with a mom like mine.
I had to revise a story recently for an assignment and really, the revisions were few and mostly a comma here or leaving out an adverb there. But something else was missing in my lovely children's story. Conflict? Nope. Good characters? Nope. Big bang beginning? Well, there you go. I rewrote the beginning till I had written a "Gotcha" start.
So, beware, grasshopper. Don't send anything out unless you grab that reader from the get-go. 'Cause the best writing in the world can't save a ho-hum opening. It's as simple as that.