When I started writing seriously, I took a myriad of online classes to learn "the right way" to write. I soon learned that every teacher had a different idea of do's and don'ts. Confusing? Very.
My head got wrapped around all the things I should and should not do, and I allowed my creativity to be stifled. So, I backed away from classes after a year or so and just wrote. I learned to use what worked for me and forgot the rest. Eventually, I became aware of certain no-no's as I wrote--like action before reaction, floating body parts (which I still think work in certain situations), starting and ending chapters and scenes with a hook, and beginning your story in the middle of action.
I started many stories right smack dab in the middle of some suspenseful scene, but the manuscripts didn't come to fruition. Hmmm. So, maybe I had misunderstood the "start in the middle of action." The all important first sentence and first chapter needs to grab your reader and make them care and want to learn more. Does that mean your character has to be immediately entrenched in angst? Well, sure, but maybe the serial killer isn't attacking her in the first paragraph. Instead, it might be better to start with foreshadowing. Show little things that pull your readers in with anticipation of "something is about to happen."
My latest manuscript has been in the works for way too long and I just couldn't seem to fix it. Then I realized I had started in the wrong moment of time. I needed to show my characters in their normal world first. A long time ago, a very dear writer friend told me this. I had forgotten that piece of wise advice. Remember the old fairy tales? "Once upon a time...."
If you are having a struggle with your manuscript, maybe you have started in the wrong moment of time. Have you shown your characters in their normal world before you plunged them into the problem?
I'm now writing chapters to precede what I've already got established. Works for me!
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