1. D.C. Perry
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    D.C. Perry Member

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    How should I Start my Story?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by D.C. Perry, Mar 8, 2014.

    I recently posted a thread asking how you think a good way to start a novel is. I shall now continue that trend in this thread. This will be similar to my first thread, about my story's title, in that I have several choices and I ask you which one you think is best, but I also give you the option to provide one yourself. Ready? Go!

     
  2. cazann34
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    cazann34 Active Member

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    Start with your protagonist, introduce them and give the reader something to intrigue them, make them want to read on. Alot of writers start with a description of the setting, which in its self isn't wrong but its not overly exciting, give the reader something to ponder over, give them a puzzle. Most of what you have given as examples are statements, they don't hook the reader. Read the opening to some of your favourite novels. Why are they your favourites? What 'hooked' you as the reader? Did they author intrigue you?
     
  3. D.C. Perry
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    D.C. Perry Member

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    About half of those are alterations of opening lines of my favorite novels, so I already did that.
     
  4. Poziga
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    Poziga Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like the last one, God is dead, and we killed him. It's quite an aggresive way to start a novel. But on the other hand, this sentence has quite a philosophical value, so use it in a right context. If this sentence hooks a reader, but a few next ones will be cliched or completely different, the reader might be dissapointed and might lose interest.
    The first and third seem like a beginning of a new chapter or like a second book of the series... We don't know the character. You might think he is awesome, because you know him, but a new reader starts reading a book without any emotions and backgrounds which would tie him to characters. A sentence that reads like it is in a middle of a scene isn't so good for beginning of a book, they don't hook a reader, like cazann already pointed out.

    I actually like a novel opening with a description. But not the sentimental ones, full of metaphors. One of my favorites is still The Hobbit:
    “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”

    But that's me, everybody like different beginnings. I think you should write a beginning in the manner that would hook YOU, because that is the beginning you will be able to write best - it will be honest. If you'll follow just some formula or something like that, it will sound like a bad lie. But if you write something that you really like, put your soul in it, you'll convince a reader to believe your lies throughout the book and at the end it will become a truth. :)

    Have fun writing. :D
     
  5. Jak of Hearts
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    Jak of Hearts Member

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    I like the last one, but you have to follow that up strongly.
     
  6. D.C. Perry
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    D.C. Perry Member

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    How about:

    "God is dead, and we killed him. Others would disagree, others would, but most don't even remember who God is."
     
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  7. dannyboy
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    dannyboy Member

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    You definitely got me hooked if I read the opening "God is dead and we killed him", fantastic, I love it... Coz according to me we did it and we are still doing it.
     
  8. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    How many other aspects of your work are you going to select by poll?

    Besides, there is no way to judge without seeing what comes after. "Mother died today; or was it yesterday?" is a riveting beginning for Camus' The Stranger but it would have been terrible for Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. Instead of taking polls, work out exactly what you want to write and how you want to write it. Compare it to literary works to measure your quality.

    Good luck.
     
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  9. Dagolas
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    Dagolas Banned

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    I'll be honest, "God is dead, and we killed him." would be the one to captivate me from the start.

    Also, don't immediately say why you killed him, write a few pages to almost painfully bore the reader until he knows why they killed God.
     
  10. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I can't tell whether this is heavy-handed sarcasm or just horrifically bad advice.
     
  11. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    Hmmm...it's a story about a character and you plan to begin with you, someone who's neither in the story or on the scene, talking to a reader who can't see their expression or hear the emotion in their voice.

    You're planning on telling the story in a way that the reader, instead of using your imagination to play a grown up game of Let's Pretend and live the adventure, is a member of an audience for an invisible narrator. Informative perhaps, but how entertaining is being talked to? I mention it because readers come to us to be entertained, emotionally. And that takes a different skill-set than either verbal storytelling or report writing.

    Verbal storytelling is a performance art that doesn't translate to the page. And reports, while they can be interesting, are hardly ever entertaining.

    Try placing the reader in the protagonist's head, in real-time. Make them know the scene as-your-protagonist-does because therein lies point of view. Make them as uncertain of the future as is the protagonist. Give them reason to worry. Make them horny, angry, enthusiastic, and terrified (one after another if you can manage it) Forget explaining and informing. Scare the crap out of your reader. Make them fall in love. Make them hate the antagonist as much as the protagonist, and for the same reasons.

    Make the act of reading fun.
     
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  12. Jecon
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    Jecon Member

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    God is dead, and we killed him. - It is not very well to start your story with Nietzsche's radical idea, unless you can support it philosophically, and, also, morally whilst relating it to your plot. That said, I think that your work will have a powerful impact should you manage to articulate this line of thought so as to make it more appealing. Good luck!
     

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