1. Oblivion
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    Oblivion New Member

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    Introduction Problems

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Oblivion, Apr 3, 2010.

    I decided yesterday to start a fantasy novel, i plotted it out on some paper and even drew a detailed map of the world with all the city names, but one thing puzzles me... the introduction.
    On my plan i wrote a lot about the lore and the landscape how the world came to be, but i'm not sure how i can fit this in my story, I tried to fit it all in the introduction but it felt like i was writing a history book. I'm not sure if i should use my introduction to introduce the charector or the world and if i do use it to introduce the charector how do i introduce the world as well?:D
     
  2. Rechar
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    Rechar Member

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    I find its always a good idea to describe your starting point in some detail so it acts as an anchor for your world. You certainly don't need to describe it all at once though, instead drip feed your readers information and let them peice things together.

    Rather than a huge description of your hero, describe certain parts at certain times. When they give someone a stare...fill in the eyes, laughter...mouth, some form of physical exercise...general body structure.

    Does your protagonist have to travel to place X? Why not say they've never been there so gets a lift from a guide who conveniently describes the place briefly, then once they arrive describe what they see in more detail.

    Don't forget you don't have to give every detail, one of the great things about books is often descriptions of both people and places are ambiguous enough that every reader has a slightly different vision of what something looks like. Stick to detailing the most striking and obvious features as a blueprint of what you want people to see...and let your adoring public imagine the rest! :)
     
  3. Oblivion
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    Oblivion New Member

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    Thankyou Rechar, i'll post the novel when i'm done so you can all read it.

    If you have any ideas i can use your free to post them.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I have to respectfully disagree with Rechar. Description in detail is often unnecessary, and can get in the way of the story's flow. I do agree that if the setting is unusual enough, the reader will want to know it. But take your time. As Rechar say, give it out in dribs and drabs. The opening scene of a novel I'm working on is aboard a colony spacecraft, and the reader needs to understand the general tech level: no artificial gravity, no warp drive, no galactic fleet standing by. This is a one way trip, and they are completely on their own. So I do take two short paragraphs at the very beginning to quickly describe the craft backing into the system on a fusion flame, with most of its fuel tanks empty and jettisoned. Then I immediately focus in on one of the main characters working on a problem.

    I keep description at a minimum, and focus on what characters are doing and saying. The characters have been on board the ship for nearly two years, so they aren't paying any special attention to what the surroundings, or each other, look like. Therefore, the reader doesn't get a grand tour either - just enough clues dropped here and there to quickly get a rough picture, gradually refined.
     
  5. tcol4417
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    tcol4417 Member

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    Ergh. Dredging up generic response #342972

    ...loading

    There's no right and wrong - it depends on your writing style. There's a bit at the beginning of Lord of the Rings where the whole history with the ring and the sword and the dude were given - it's essential knowledge for the story, but you dont' HAVE to serve the backstory to the audience on a plate like that. Some audiences resent it, actually.

    I personally enjoy a story that exposes its history through the actions taking place in the current day. If there's no way to link a current scenario to the historical event that brought it about, who cares? Existing racial tensions between A and B can highlight a war that occured centuries ago, but there's nothing you can do to bring attention to the fact that a tree fell in the woods somewhere because nobody wants to know, so putting that detail into a expose without deliberately making fun would be pointless.

    Think about how you want the overall tone to be set before you make any decisions about how to open, because first impressions count.
     
  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm anti-introduction. My vote is always for starting with action, letting the reader be confused about who, what, where. But use that confusion to make them _curious_, instead of exasperated, and then slowly satisfy the curiosity.

    And by "action", I don't mean explosions or gunshots, necessarily. For example, I just started _The Mirror Crack'd_ (Agatha Christie) again, and it starts with a nice peaceful scene of Miss Marple looking out her window in exasperation at what the gardener is doing to her garden. Within a few pages you learn a whole lot about Miss Marple, her cottage, her age, her situation, her feelings about aging and change what's happening to her village, and so on. But not a bit of it feels like an explanation before the story starts - it all feels like story, not introduction.

    ChickenFreak
     
  7. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    Then it's probably not a good idea to force it in, otherwise it will simply look weird. Your reader should find out things along with the character, or when they are actually mentioned in the story, or relevant to it. Don't reveal anything about the history of the place until you need to.

    The character. Introduce the character first (or, rather, tell the story and make sure that it enables them to introduce themselves), as their world is always introduced as they explore it.
     

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