Today, I woke up to a journal entry that I had scribbled while still half-asleep:
The blood-soaked cowboy stumbled into the Sondheim Hotel, and he brought his troubles with him.
I vaguely remember being on a school bus... my BFF Alex kneeling on the seat in front of me... hearing him tell me this story...
Who is the cowboy? Why is he blood-soaked? Whose blood is it? Is he drunk, disoriented, disemboweled? Where is the Sondheim Hotel? Who/what drew him there? Are his troubles internal or external? Are they life-threatening? Is he putting other people in danger?
This reminds me of the opening line from Stephen King's Dark Tower series:
Both of these lines immediately introduce the protagonist, the antagonist, the setting, and the conflict, but, more importantly, they open up a whole lotta loops that compel the reader to keep reading.
Side note: the "open-loop technique" is just a fancy way of saying ask questions and withhold answers.
This works because questions = uncertainty = danger = death.
We need appropriate answers to appropriate questions to survive.
Who is the man in black? Why/who/what is he fleeing? Where is the desert? Is it safe to cross? Who/what is the gunslinger? Are they following the man in black for personal or professional reasons? Are they trying to capture or kill?
Normally, at this point, I would wrap up with some satisfying answer, but not today, my friends, not today.
Today, I have no answers.
Today, I'm just the blood-soaked cowboy who stumbled into the Sondheim Hotel and brought his troubles with him.