While telling a story, you can spring a surprise on the reader with a sudden calamity or an interesting twist, but it is more effective when you set the scene first. Take the example below: The scene is about a poor woman who gets mugged while buying a TV-dinner at the supermarket.
Gina hurried to the store to buy a TV dinner. She chose a Lean Cuisine on sale, for she couldn’t afford anything else. She went to the cashier, and when she opened her wallet to pay, a man in a black hoodie pointed a gun at her. He said, “Give me your bag.”
Gina got off the bus, and cursed as she stepped into a puddle. She was distracted. Everything depended on the presentation at Zane Enterprises tomorrow. All she had left in her bag was a $10 bill and the old laptop with her portfolio. If she didn’t get the job, she’d starve. Her stomach growled. She had skipped lunch and knew she couldn’t last another night on an empty stomach.
A man in a black hoodie pushed past her as she entered the CheapMart. She browsed through aisles and finally chose a Lean Cuisine on sale for $2 and went to the cashier. She saw the man in the black hoodie again when she opened her wallet to pay.
He pointed a gun at her. “Give me your bag.”
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Sunanda Chatterjee is a practicing physician in Southern California. When she is not by the microscope making diagnoses, she loves to write fiction.