My policy is to begin a story as late as possible, using flashback. But if you can open with, “He reached out for Steve’s throat,” and then pull back for the dispute, about why we were arguing. Hitchcock said, “You put the bomb under the bed.” You know that story?
“Mr. Hitchcock, how long do you hold a kiss on the screen?” some idiot student asked him a question at a film school. Hitchcock said, “Oh, I would say twenty, twenty-five minutes.”
“That’s a helluva long kiss, Mr. Hitchcock.”
“Yes, but first of all I would put a bomb under the bed.”
JOHN LE CARRÉ