Hints from the Judges
No.2 – The Opening Paragraphs or Stanzas
Having attracted the interest of the judge/reader with a really good title (see Hints No.1) it is important to build on this interest in the opening of any submitted work.
Before committing anything to writing, it is essential to establish the structure of the piece: know what you want to say and how you will achieve it.
The opening, whilst it should always be thought provoking, leaving the reader wanting to discover more, should not reveal too much. As with the title, you don’t want the opening to be so explicit that the reader knows exactly what is coming. Also, avoid introducing too many ideas and/or characters, which can give a judge mental indigestion!
Except in the case of certain types of humour verse, it is also better to steer clear of over the top ideas or situations.
The opening needs to be well thought through and subtle in its appeal. Every word must count; this is particularly important for poetry and flash fiction where line/word counts are tight.
Above all, do not try to cram too much in.