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Saturday, 7 July 2018

Two Lines Can Tell A Story. By Dan Cooke


Two lines can tell a story.

and they can tell them, in I think, two different ways.

The first of which would be in micro stories, the two sentences tell the entire story between them, the first being both the opening and the middle, and the second being the middle and the end. All condensed down into a short but, hopefully, interesting piece of work.

"Upon Simon's return from work, he discovered that burglars had had their way and ransacked the place. So preoccupied was he though with his missing items, that he didn't notice they had taken the entire front door."

Nothing however says that both lines have to follow the same theme. While both lines above are two halves to the same story, the first is enticing and serious, while the second is slightly more comical. Nothing is better in something sort like this than leaving a few dangling threads. of course questions need answering in the long game, but leaving a few questions unanswered allows the reader to fill in gaps themselves, and also leaves open the possibility of a follow-up.

The second way that two lines can be used to tell a story is as a part of a much bigger story, and this is a little harder to pull off, but can reap great rewards when done well.

Essentially, either the first two, or two of the earliest lines, will set the tone, and almost in their own way tell the story, giving the reader the opportunity to establish what they are going to read, and what they might expect from the story ahead.
"Two Lines Can Tell A Story" by Debora Halton.
Notice how the two halves are vastly different in tone
and setting, yet when combined tell the whole story.

So for example, one of the first lines may set up a certain rule, building, character, explaining who they are, what the rule is, why it exists. Essentially, that first line can be used to establish.

It is then that the second line kicks in, which takes what was already established and can do multiple things with it. Expand on it further, turn it on its head, both. That second line, following on from what has already been established, can tell the readers all they need to know, it can set the tone of the story to come, reveal potential twists (subtly if done well) and most importantly, tell the reader the general direction the story is going to go in.

The relationship between the two lines is not one that has much depth put into it, but their importance to the reader, story, tone and even yourself as the writer can make a fundamental impact on tone, plot, characters.

Two lines can tell a story, not just in terms of the words they carry, but the weight of the rest of the story above their shoulders.

1 comment:

  1. I want to know the rest of Simon's story! The state he must have been in not to notice his front door is missing... really want to know the rest of it now.

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