I have a scene set in a small music shop. My heroine is behind the counter, getting ready to close. Let’s say it is ONE minute until closing. Is there something she could be doing that would clue readers in, without using too many words, that she’s closing up shop?
Currently, my opening sentence for the romantic suspense ghost story book refers to “closing up shop.” I perceived that as a shorthand that would clue readers in that it was closing time, and allow them to visualize whatever that means to them. The important thing is that we get across the idea that it’s quitting time.
I tweaked the opening a bit today, with the help of the WRITING2 mailing list. But it may need a bit more tweaking.
“Paige Campbell was closing up shop when the phone rang.”
(The ringing phone is the ominous note.)
Even if you’ve never worked retail, there must be SOMETHING that would mean quitting time. Emptying the till, locking the front door, whatever. But I don’t want to put too much emphasis on the action, so that’s why I was vague and general. Should I be more specific? Or is that OK?