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Starting The Story
David Russell
Posted: Thursday, May 19, 2016 11:41 AM
Joined: 8/6/2014
Posts: 6

Hello Book Country authors,
I would like to start a new topic on the issue of starting your story, fiction oriented primarily.
Do you start most times with dialogue, or a statement setting the scene or setting?
I am reading "Self Editing For Writers" and the advice seems to be keep narrative short, and use the starting paragraph(s) to set the pace. Also, leave out the weather - as that seems to be amateur.
Happy Writing,
David Russell    


Posted: Friday, May 20, 2016 10:16 AM
Joined: 5/12/2015
Posts: 41

The struggle,  in the Internet age, is to make use of the 3-minute window you have to get the reader's attention. Generally you do this by starting off with a very strong, provocative sentence: something like a very small movie trailer.


For example: "Now I'm no longer wondering what happens to an ice cream cone after you drop it from the top of the Empire State Building".


"Pace" is only important in regard to Exposition - which is where a lot of beginners get bogged down. Rookies feel that they have to explain EVERYTHING. But most readers are sophisticated enough to pick up information on the fly. Again, you've got a very thin window as far as attention span - so it's important to keep things moving. Note that even in a narrative like DOWNTON ABBEY - which feels so slow-moving - no individual scene lasts much longer than a minute.


I've read self-published books without weather. Basically, they're ridiculous: like human interaction under a bell jar. If you continue to read "how to" books, keep in mind that you're just absorbing one person's opinion - and your own opinion carries just as much weight as the opinion of anyone else.


- Nate (SLC)

David Russell
Posted: Friday, May 20, 2016 10:32 AM
Joined: 8/6/2014
Posts: 6

Hi Nate and others,

I get it, start with a sentence that is going to endeavor to grab attention. I have started doing this in my freelance writing of nonfiction blog posts e.g., much like the advertising hook from commercials.

The balance is a delicate one between critique forums, how-to books/articles, and the simple rule, Writers write.

Currently, I utilize all three and am an avid reader as well, more for pleasure, some for learning the writing craft. Thanks!

David Russell



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