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Chapter 10. Making Your Bones > Start at the Very Beginning: Introductions - Pg. 108

Making Your Bones 108 Writer's Block Keep your opening anecdotes short--no more than one to two paragraphs--or you run the risk of losing the thread of your narrative. An anecdote that overstays its welcome is worse than no anecdote at all. At the age of 20, I was a headstrong young woman who thought, "I know everything." I did not realize my naiveté and lack of common sense until I found myself in tears, on the New Jersey Turnpike, with $15 in my pocket, driving a 1969 Volkswagen death-trap with no floorboards and rotting brakes. Following is an anecdotal opening from a term paper. The paper argues that Prozac's side effects may outweigh its benefits: Melissa Ryder was suffering from depression. To relieve her symptoms, her doctor prescribed Prozac. "After only six days on Prozac, I was in far worse shape than I had ever been before," she said in an interview. The bizarre side effects of the medication included uncontrollable trem- bling, urges to stab herself, and thoughts of killing her children. Melissa Ryder is no longer using Prozac and her condition has improved greatly (Bower 24).