I was pleased and honored when the Editor in Chief of Wyngraf asked if he could use my story, “Weaving Serenity,” as an example of how to write a story opening well. Today, he posted on Wyngraf’s website a dissection of several of the first paragraphs of “Weaving,” going line by line and offering his reasons for why those sentences work. It’s a great post on the nuts and bolts of writing craft, and I learned a lot myself, even if it was after the fact.

Take a read, especially if you’re a writer, and maybe go check out Issue #1 of Wyngraf. There are nine fantastic stories in this debut issue of a magazine devoted to cozy fantasy.

Thanks for reading!

A. Cook


Last week we read submissions for Rakehell, our sibling mag of swashbuckling adventure fiction. We’ll have more to say about the submission round soon, but right now we want to talk about story openings.

Specifically, let’s talk about how to deliver backstory in the beginning of your piece. This is something we saw a lot of writers struggle in our Rakehell submissions. Starting any story—especially a tale of swashbuckling action—with an info dump is the kiss of death for pacing and excitement.

So let’s look at an example of a story that delivers backstory in a natural, engaging way. Amanda Cook’s “Weaving Serenity” was the first story we bought for Wyngraf #1, and a big part of what sold it was the first few paragraphs.

We’ll go paragraph by paragraph and talk about what works—and, more importantly, how it works.

Take it away, Amanda!

Introducing the…

View original post 1,330 more words

Amanda Cook is a writer and stay at home mom who lives in a southern Indiana woods with her spouse, kids, and one clingy dog. In the Before Times (and sometimes even now), she could/can be found helping out with her kids' school, catching up on her toppling TBR pile, playing games with her friends, hanging out at virtual conventions, crying over period dramas, or sewing yet another cosplay. Her second novel, "When We Were Forgotten," was the winner of the 2018 Bronze Medal for Best Sci-fi/Fantasy/Horror E-Book from the Independent Publisher Book (IPPY) Awards. She writes short speculative fiction and poetry that can be found at various markets and here on her blog.

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