Novel Beginnings: 3 Openers


Yes, here’s three sample fiction openers for 1) Murder Mystery 2) Gothic Romance and 3) Speculative/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/whatevs.

1)  Wallace William Kensington Wormsley IV lay under the dining room table in a frothy pool of blue blood.

“Uncanny,” said Detective O’Hara.  “Then you believe– the killer poured cobalt dye over your husband’s corpse as a– posthumous prank?”

The widow Wormsley nodded, snuffling into her handkerchief.

“Some perceived Wallace as stuck up,” she said.  “But, of course, he wasn’t.”

She snuffled again, into the monogrammed hanky.  Or, O’Hara thought, was she laughing?

2)  In the woods, the wind blew the trees into weird shapes.  They mocked my shyness with their grovelling and insincere bows and curtsies.

I pulled my bonnet strings tighter and shut my eyes against the storm.

Suddenly– a horrible shove– and what felt like horse’s hooves on my chest and I screamed before falling in the mud.

“You little idiot!”

A wild-haired man in fancy dress glowered at me from horseback.

“Betsey almost killed you.  What the hell are you doing out in a rainstorm with your eyes closed?  Are you blind– or just feeble-minded?”

“Sorry, sir.”  But I didn’t shout and he didn’t hear me over the wind.

I spoke a bit louder.



My proper gray dress was good and soaked by now.  The long skirt filthy with mud and wet leaves.  My striped blouse torn where the horse had knocked it.

“Inauspicious, sir!” I yelled, holding my shirt in place with a shaky hand.  My new job starts today.  At number Thirteen Cherrywood Lane.”

Stunned, he repeated the address.

“Oh Christ,” he said.  “You’re the new governess.”

3)  Blonde curls bouncing, Vestigia clung to the purple neck of her dragon.

“Faster, Chklxrnymgvrxxlytrperqxigrx!” she said.


Wouldn’t Jane Eyre, Mary Poppins, Captain von Trapp and Captain Nemo make a cool mash-up?  20,000 Super XP Alla Docious Leagues Under the Wide Sargasso Music?  Or something.

Daphne du Maurier said she was inspired by Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre to write her big hit novel Rebecca.  Daphne and Charlotte were probably both re-writing their own versions of the “Bluebeard” fairytale.  Bluebeard represents the classic, the original– the blueprint if you will of the– brooding Gothic, Byronic anti-hero.

Disturbing anagram of Bluebeard’s name:  “Red bauble”.

Some other good words in his name:  Yeah, blue.  Beard.  Plus: Bleed, babe, barbed, bare, leer, leader, rule, Lear, lured, dare, bed, dear, bar, beer, ale, blade, burbled, bead, dabbler, Babel, rubble, barbel, duel, bear, deer, Elba, lard, blurbed, blab, ear, rube, dub, drab, real, lab, blur, reel, dealer, lubber, bale, rubbed, bulb, reed, read, and rue.


Thanks for stopping by.  Feel free to comment with your own genre openers, anagrams or what have you.


Addendum 1:  Speaking of Bluebeard and red baubles.  “Barbarian Radishes” is now in the Great Blogs sidebar.  I’m no chef.  Unless heating up a can of Progresso “Garden Vegetable” counts.  But the recipes here are witty, smart and chock full of useful tidbits.  Before marinating tofu– squeeze out the moisture so it absorbs your liquids better.  Who knew?  “Barbarian Radishes” makes it all sound delish and do-able.

Addendum 2:  My 54-year-old back collapses from time to time– a hazard of lifting heavy books.  One week exactly after posting about Kafka’s story “The Metamorphosis”, I woke up to find my back on the outs again.  While crawling around on the floor in circles, looking for a piece of furniture sturdy enough to pull myself upright– I thought– hmm– This reminds me of something– can’t put my finger on it…


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