Sunday, February 11, 2007

The All Important Beginning

Where a story opens is critical. You need to capture the reader, make them care, make them wonder what is going to happen. You've heard have I. So how do you determine that all important opening scene?

What I've learned is you must open with action, with your main character in their current world and an event that is going to blow that world apart. What I've been struggling with this past week is how to start my story, which has lots of critical backstory, without confusing the reader, and still have my heroine and hero meet in the first few pages. Big daunting task.

My first shot confused the reader. They needed to know "why" the emotions were so high and controversial. Yeah, I knew why--it is all in the backstory. It's been drummed into my head to incorporate backstory in small doses. Hmm, so how to correct that and still have that all important first meeting.

I went to one of my writing critique groups and asked how I could accomplish this. And I received the answer. Use different POVs. By starting with the big bang in the POV of the heroine and then switching to the POV of the hero, I can write in the backstory, build anticipation for the reader for when the two finally come face to face. All sorts of possibilities exist.

Yesterday I felt as if I were standing in front of a huge wall that I had to climb with no rope, no footholds or handholds and a sinking feeling of despair that it couldn't be done. Today, I'm looking at the world on the opposite side of that wall. A vast horizon with many paths to choose.

The morale of the story? Writing may be a solitary occupation, but it is much better accomplished if you build a strong support system. And always remember to "pay it forward".

No comments: