Hack Writing 201: Dynamite Openings

Reading fiction manuscripts from a slush pile has gotten me thinking about opening lines. A dynamite opening is what separates the royalty checks from the rejection slips. Hemingway knew this. Fitzgerald knew this. All the greats knew this. Now, I’m revealing this insider’s secret to you. Simply stated, you want a few lines, right off the top, that will grab the reader and not let go. For example, here are the opening lines of an (unpublished) novel a friend worked on for years: Continue reading Hack Writing 201: Dynamite Openings

Hack Writing 101: The Lost Meat Spear Manuscript

My Brief Career Writing Porn Novels for Greenleaf Classics

It’s a dirty story
of a dirty man
and his clinging wife
doesn’t understand

—  “Paperback Writer,” 1966 (Lennon-McCartney)

I started my writing career in the early 70s, writing primarily fiction—pseudonymous and anonymous two-cents-a-word stuff. Mostly, I wrote porn novels, but also short stories for the women’s romance/confession mags—“My Husband Ran Off with the Babysitter”—that sort of stuff, and occasionally short stories for the cheapo men’s mags. Continue reading Hack Writing 101: The Lost Meat Spear Manuscript