So, I'm doing a critique tonight, and I was wondering. What keeps you reading a story?
Me, I love first sentences. Those perfectly crafted sentences hook me and really draw me deep into a story. If a first sentence is beautifully crafted, you get setting, character, and theme shot at you at once. It's the best feeling.
My second favourite thing is the overall phrasing of the first paragraph. In my first paragraphs I really try to get the reader into the setting, to let them know what sort of character and place they're getting.
Fantasy? I'd probably begin like this: "Anair, there is a presence within the stone." Instantly you think, Who is Anair? Who is the person speaking? How can there be a presence in stone? Where is this story taking place?
Isn't that fun?
Do you prefer Steampunk? Let's try this sentence: Kat would have fled before the German soldier turned his head and saw her hovering beneath the steam-powered lantern, but her glider was broken. What do you think when you read this sentence?
Historical Fiction? Peggy grimaced and ran her hands down the belling folds of her corseted dress.
Science Fiction? Don Oden leaned forward and typed a phrase of command into his computer keyboard.
I love getting my characters named right off, so you know who the story is about. I love trying to get the feel for the story right there on the first sentence. Most, I love trying to hook you in, to make you think WHY is this character doing this?
How about you? What is the most favourite thing in writing that you strive to make the best?