Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Story Openers

What really is a story opener--action, quiet, dialog, inner thoughts, or a combination? The one thing we all know is that it has to hook the reader. Why bother reading if it's not interesting, right? Let me tell you where I am right now. I have this story and both my main protags, like most, have tons of baggage in their backgrounds. I swear I've written twenty different beginnings to this story. Because I know the story so well, I'm having a hard time pinpointing what the reader would most like to be introduced to first. I have, however, found two great articles that have helped me in my profound ponderings. (Good gosh, profound...sorry, I'm thinking I'm someone else today.) Check one out Here & There.

So, anyone else ever struggle with what to tell the reader at the beginning and what to leave for backstory? Fess-up and share. How do you handle it?

(Come back soon. Next article: Prologue vs. 1st Chapter.)


  1. Girl, you read my mind. I struggle with every chapter/page/sentence/word. It's a delicate balance that's sometimes hard to find. How do I handle it? I write whatever I feel works, sit on it, go back and re-read it, correct what doesn't sound right and repeat. If, in the end, it still isn't quite right, I hand it off to another pair of eyes. I'm going to check out your postings when the child takes her nappage.

    On a side note, if you want a full ms swap, I'd be happy to beta for you. Only a click away:)

  2. I follow your suit, but these articles really made me think. Actually, both have helped me develop an entirely new beginning than I posted on Teenfire. I need to use that chapter but I think I'll insert it just as he finds her and realizes his future struggle. (I know that is gibberish to you, right now.)

    Swapping, dead on. Love to. I'm in the process of word cutting first and reworking the first two chapters. I'll email you or post on YALitChat. :) As always, you're awesome. (I'll also post that site I found you on. I haven't forgot. Just need to find it.) Said as I smack myself in the head.

  3. Haha. I get you. I don't always follow my own advice, unfortunately. Writing is a constant learning process. I've rewritten my ms four times overall and the last one I did over the last month. Now it's closer to the way I want it when before I had too many ideas.

    Just let me know when you're ready!

    Oh and I found the article you mentioned. Geez I forgot about that!


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