FIRST LINE —
Capture a character in four details.
He let his beard grow and traveled to America, read Arthur Rimbaud, and wrote poems.
So begins the short story by Norwegian author Ari Behn, “When a Dollar Was a Big Deal.” In just one sentence, Behn creates an intriguing character that pulls the reader into the story. Rather than relying on generic details (“his hair was brown”), Behn chooses specific attributes (“he let his beard grow”) that give the reader a sense of action and agency. In fact, all four details are delivered as verbs.
This week, dear writers, try your hand at beginning a short story with this same format: four details that capture a character. Extra kudos for using four verbs, as WtW’s Tacita does here in "o the beloved":
She trimmed her hair, her nails, her fangs. She packed her bag full of everything she had left of
what she loved. She ate her shadow, and then she left.