Today, we will continue learning and working on short stories. The goal for the story ideas started last week is to evolve them into full-fledge short stories or even a novella. For an example of a novella, I am posting a link to Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis for you to read.
Last week, we discussed the importance of three-dimensional characters, setting, and starting the middle of action or a moment. Specifically, we looked at establishing key elements within the first paragraph of our stories that will hook readers. Check out The Write Practice’s advice on writing the perfect first line: 7 Keys to Writing the Perfect First Line of a Novel. Moving beyond the first line to the remainder of the page, read How to Write the Perfect First Page.
Below, I have posted the first page of The Metamorphosis. Read it, and afterwards consider what information about the main character, setting, etc. you learned from the first line to the entirety of the page. What hooks you into this story as a reader?
One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from
anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he had been
changed into a monstrous verminous bug. He lay on his
armour-hard back and saw, as he lifted his head up a little,
his brown, arched abdomen divided up into rigid bowlike
sections. From this height the blanket, just about
ready to slide off completely, could hardly stay in place.
His numerous legs, pitifully thin in comparison to the rest
of his circumference, flickered helplessly before his eyes.
‘What’s happened to me,’ he thought. It was no dream.
His room, a proper room for a human being, only
somewhat too small, lay quietly between the four wellknown
walls. Above the table, on which an unpacked
collection of sample cloth goods was spread out (Samsa
was a traveling salesman) hung the picture which he had
cut out of an illustrated magazine a little while ago and set
in a pretty gilt frame. It was a picture of a woman with a
fur hat and a fur boa. She sat erect there, lifting up in the
direction of the viewer a solid fur muff into which her
entire forearm disappeared.
Gregor’s glance then turned to the window. The dreary
weather (the rain drops were falling audibly down on the… (Kafka, The Metamorphosis)