The “something is happening” opening.

Over on Mad Genius Club the inimitable Sarah Hoyt is doing a weekly series on story openings.  In this case it’s what she called the “Something is Happening Here” opening, where the story starts with immediate movement.  Readers are invited to offer their own openings of the type in the comments.  Here was mine:

I got up and dropped money on the table, not bothering to count it. I strode briskly to the door, pulling my hat down over my head as I passed out into the bright suns light.

Mentally flipping a coin, I turned right. Then left at the corner. I had no idea what had prompted me to leave before the servo had even dispensed my lunch. I never do.

Three blocks, three random turns, later an explosion lit up the sky. I looked back to see a pillar of smoke rising from where the cafe had once stood.

Three times now I had evaded death. The faulty air filter on Hadur IV. The runaway floater on Perun II. And now an explosion at a cafe on Shala which I felt certain would prove to have some innocuous cause.

As the old saying goes: once is chance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action.

Somebody was trying to kill me and was very, very good at making it look like an accident.

I don’t have a story to go with this one…yet.  It was something I knocked off quickly as an exercise.  However, some things jump out at once.  One thing is the planet names I grabbed.  They’re all named after war deities from various cultures.  This immediately puts the story in my FTI universe during or after the First Eres war.  During the First Eres War, you see, a lot of forward bases where built and the planets they set them at were named after war deities–and there are a lot of war deities when you get into the many cultures on Earth.

There are other things in there, things I just knocked off quickly to create this opening that not only tie it to the world but also give me a hint of character and some of the “why” element of the story.

And so, from that simple exercise, I’ve got an event, a setting, and the beginnings of a character.  I’m not quite ready to dive in and make a story out of it, but if I ever need a project to work on, I can always pull this one out.  In the meantime, it will work in the back of my mind until it’s ready to come out.


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