The question hit home for me as I was reading Misery for the first time. In that story, you don't know the main character's full name until chapter 3 or so. You find out more about his identity in later chapters, an identity which of course is central to the story. Obviously, a short story is, well, shorter, but I was looking through my own introductions, and sure enough, often I start with the main character's name.
So, I started tweaking the introduction of the third story in my collection Not Your Abuelita's Folktales. I do think the introduction below reads better, although I introduced two main characters in the same paragraph, which I will have to revise later. There are so many elements to consider, but first thing's first.
I have to finish all the stories before I take them apart and put them back together like a gorgeous puzzle. The work has to develop in the right stages, with time, and I have this vision of a nestling that has already hatched, has grown but should not be set off to fly too soon. Or else, it will crash and die.
Right now, the collection is at 85 pages, and I am aiming for two more stories. Well, I'm off to write and write and write some more.
Analyze to improve, but don't rip your work apart. #barrioblues
"El Encantado" (The Enchanted One)
He spied her in the mirror’s reflection. She had gorgeous golden hair and almost silver eyes. Her face had what the gueros called a sweet heart shape, though a bit elongated, with a perfect nose and kissable lips. Her eyes are what had attracted him the most; she had enormous, kind eyes that never judged anyone. Her skin was flawless, and he swore glowed. She was slender like an alfalfa stalk, and when she smiled and eyes sparkled, his heart would melt. If her father could see him spying from the window, he would shoot him on the spot. He peeked over the expansive ranch-style window, with imprisoning bars, but she was so absorbed with her primping and beautifying that she paid no mind to him. It was a hot July summer day, in Yuma, Arizona, and despite the heat she looked fresh. How did she manage to keep her hair so bouncy when he was sweating like a pig? “Girl, you’re perfect. You don’t need all of that on your face,” he whispered, tracing a circle around his own face.
An acidic hiss startled him out of his adoration. There was the ugly black mangy cat she loved so much, Nightling. It hissed again with all of its hair standing on end.
“Mind your own business!” he hissed back. He peeked one more time through the window, and she looked up, but he ducked before she saw him. Beto crept back towards the desert. The ugly trailer he called home was just over the wall, just a five-minute walk away. As he neared the property's end, he felt the hot breath of Mr. Stan’s hideous Rottweiler on his backside. It snarled and snapped sending spittle at his face. Beto screamed and ran so fast, he didn’t hear the cacophony of barks that followed his trail. The ugly beast neared and nipped so many times, but each time, Beto managed to avoid getting mangled or killed and practically leaped over the adobe wall that surrounded her property.
The dog only stopped and spun around when Sarah Isabelle Stan’s dulcet cries called him back. He wished with all of his heart she would someday call out to him like that. “Beto,” he whispered sweetly, imitating her voice in a high tone, “Oh, Beto, you’re so amazing! Damn, no one plays ball like you.” He took off his baseball shirt and mopped his brow. A. Andrades it read in embroidered black letters in the back, but he didn’t go by Alberto, but Beto for short. He took a deep breath, put his jersey back on, and left.