Come join me Sunday, July 30th!

Come join me Sunday, July 30th!
Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore- San Diego

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

So where to begin?

Just a short sort of blog today- more of a question really. 

Where do you start your stories? 

Yes, yes, I know--start where the protagonist's life goes sideways, where things jump off the rails, where it appears as if everything is going to spin into world class hinkiness.  Also, other fun tips- start with action and never give backstory in the beginning.

Now, I've seen stories that follow the rules and fail and break the rules and succeed (granted, rarely).  Given the types of books I write I do start with action.  But I recently realized I jumped the gun in one.  I dove into the main storyline way too fast.  It seemed logical when I was writing it, but now that I'm trying to fix the story (hmmmm- wonder why ;)) I realized I began too soon.

So what are your thoughts about beginnings- yours or others?  What do you love, hate, wish you had done yourself?

11 comments:

  1. Marie, I usually end up writing the beginning chapter several times. I just finished up the fourth in a series of sci fi novels, and I really struggled with how much to put into the first chapter, and with exactly where to start the story. I don't worry too much about this on the first draft but leave tweaking it for later revisions.

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    1. Thanks for coming by, Margaret. I think part of it is knowing when to change it in the later drafts ;)- looks like you have that covered!

      Marie- stuck at even day job- can't log in to Blogger

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  2. I always end up rewriting the beginning of my book 50 bazillion times, so...yeah. No great advice. But I did just read an interesting blog on the topic:
    http://kidlit.com/2014/08/11/bridging-conflict/

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    1. 50 Bazillion times?! that's awesome! LOL :) Good to know that re-write the start happens to all of us :). Great link too! Thanks for coming by, Shoshana!



      Marie- stuck at even day job- can't log in to Blogger

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  3. Like Margaret, I rewrite the beginning chapter over and over again, often completely replacing it with another. I try to keep action in the beginning chapter to spice it up, but it isn't always where the hero's world goes wonky. Sometimes that doesn't happen for awhile, sometimes it's already happened. Remember, rules are meant to be broken. I think the worst thing you could do is not fix an opening chapter that doesn't work because no one will read past it.

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    1. Very good point, Sharon- no reason hanging on to rules if your first chapter tanks ;). Thanks for coming by Sharon!




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  4. Marie, I belong to several read and critique groups. Since I write sci-fi, unused to that genre, members are always asking questions in the first chapter while actual sci-fi readers love the confusion as a curiosity motivator to read on. At first, I tried to put new first chapters before those that were nebulous in order to hold my readers' hands. Now, I just slash and burn anything up to the deep action. Suspense readers tend to like to start in the middle of something confusing. Contemporary romance readers, from my experience, want hand holding clarity.

    Though clarity is my main goal in telling any story, I love to start with non sequiturs in the plot--it's a normal day, a housewife is taking her SUV to the grocery store and out of the corner of her eye she sees the traffic whizzing by her as mini-flying saucers.That's why I love the movie "Deep Impact" so much. The normal day at the computer when you suddenly realize that ELE is not ELLIE, the name of a woman having an affair with the President, but the forecast of an Extinction Level Event where the planet you live on will be no more.

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    1. Very interesting, Susan! I was always like to see how other writers do it, and defining who your audience is is crucial!




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  5. Like the others I rewrite chapter 1 a ton. I made the mistake of starting my 1st book too much like similar books (whole 1st day of school thing). I'll NEVER do that again. I also find back story gets harder and harder to figure out as you get further in a series.

    Susan - you make a great point about different needs for different genres. That's something I haven't thought about, but so true. I personally prefer my books start with action. Even my romance books - but then the action is geared that direction (like the first meeting).

    Fun question!

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    1. Hi Abigail! I think we all have done those learning mistakes, and they'll never stop. We always keep learning with this!

      Thanks for coming by!

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