1. Jonathan Pascual
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    Jonathan Pascual New Member

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    Starting A Chapter And Story

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Jonathan Pascual, Sep 4, 2013.

    Hi, I wanted to ask about making a good beginning in a story. Like do all stories should start with what season or day it is? What are also good sentence or chapter to start a story?

    As far as chapter goes, I would try to make a story with chapters in it and name them, not just put the chapter number.

    In your opinion do you think that the chapters should start with what the paragraphs is about? Example of this I mean something that goes:

    Chapter 1
    The Ending Of My Life

    I started going through some changes ever since she lefte me....(blah, blah, blah)...

    Chapter 2
    The Girl I Met
    I would think about my life and started giving up on it until I met this beautiful girl and she like me...(blah, blah, blah)....


    Or can it be like the name of the chapter title explains the day that I want the paragraphs to lay on. Like for example, something that goes:

    Chapter 3
    March 8

    It was 8:00 and my mom was in the hospital and my little brother was born ten minutes after (blah, blah, blah)....

    OR

    Chapter 4
    November 20

    We were getting ready for the holidays but then a horrible thing about to my relative and everyone was sad...(blah, blah, blah)....


    Get what I mean? Like these are just examples so when I named chapter 3: March 8, means that his brother was born on March 8. Or like when I named chapter 4: November 20, means a terrible thing happened that day.

    Do you think its okay to name titles by the day I decide the paragraph is? Does anyone get me?

    And what is are names to call titles that can make sense of what the paragraph will be about?

    Thanks
     
  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Judging by your posts so far, Jonathan, your use of the English language is pretty weak. Sorry for putting it bluntly, but it's true. Is English your first language? If not, are you planning to write your stories in English or your native language?

    You can answer most of the questions you're asking simply by reading some good novels and short stories. See how professional writers write. Also, look through the General Writing part of this forum. You'll find extensive discussions of just about any writing issue there.

    This thread is in the wrong section; I'm moving it to the General Writing section for you.
     
  3. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I'll echo minstrel's observations. If you are going to write in English, you need a much better command of the language. And reading is the very best way to answer your questions, as well as giving you a better understanding of what constitutes effective writing.

    How many stories have you read that do? How many that do not?
    (Those questions are rhetorical, btw).

    Good luck.
     
  4. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    Most of the time, my chapter titles don't have much to do with the content. I just pick something that sounds snappy, or don't name them at all. In my current piece, they do seem to have a theme, like waking up from a near death experience is called "Bring Me To Life" (yes after the Evanescense song) while the one about getting off drugs is called "Resolutions." In my work about boot camp, I just labeled them by week I/E "Week O1" and so on.
     
  5. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    I don't name mine at all or I name them purely by incidents. My story is told from the POV of a 4-10 girl after all. But she is quite imaginative so when, for example, she gets her pet cat at age 6, the chapter is titled "The 3rd Crusader Joins Our Group". It sounds stupid, but works in context.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    no... nor should they, as that is one of the weakest ways to begin a story...

    google for '100 best first lines from novels' and see for yourself...

    as for 'chapter' that depends on what your story is... just don't start with a prologue...

    short stories don't have chapters, only novels do... and if writing a novel for adults, it's not a good idea to title them... they are usually only numbered... for children or the YA market, chapter titles are ok...

    i get you, but see what i wrote above re what market you're targeting... don't do it for adult market novels... for children and YA, any of those methods are ok, but dates don't work well unless it's important to the plot, or they're referring to diary entries...

    i don't know what you mean... there is not 'name' for any type of chapter title... they're all just 'chapter titles'...
     
  7. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Yikes! Careful, maia - this isn't always true. Five minutes of poking around in my own bookshelves yielded short stories with chapters by Anton Chekhov, Flannery O'Connor, William Gass, and Robert A. Heinlein. I bet another five minutes of poking would have yielded more.

    Better to say that most short stories don't have chapters, I think.
     
  8. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I've seen this advice on this forum before, and I'm just curious as to why that would be. It doesn't seem to be universal but it is definitely true more often than not, judging by a sampling of my own collection. I eliminated anything I thought would be irrelevant to today's publishing (which is a large portion of my collection!), with the 0ldest being Clancy's The Hunt for Red October (1984). Out of 15 novels, none of which are for children or YA, 5 had titled chapters and 10 did not. Of the 10 that did not, 4 were divided into "parts" which did have titles, each part containing several chapters.

    Are we saying that chapter titles are a turnoff for publishers/agents in the adult market? I'd be curious as to why that is. And if it is a turnoff, why is naming "parts" okay? Or is it simply the current trend? If the former, it's something writers seeking to be published need to be aware of. If the latter, then...well, then you can do what you think best suits your story.

    As it happens, when I look at the six projects I've completed at least through the first draft, 2 have chapter titles and 4 do not (there's that 1:2 ratio again). When I use chapter titles, it's because they add something to the work, like cover art.
     
  9. Jonathan Pascual
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    Jonathan Pascual New Member

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    Oh, so technically as far as making chapters goes. When you guys mentioned that authors who make novels for adults, just number the chapter (without titling them), so its more like I have to guess when chapter 1, 2, 3, etc. goes? Like more as in if the paragraph is now talking about something else, I should start another chapter number? Thanks again.
     
  10. Jonathan Pascual
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    Jonathan Pascual New Member

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    I don't mind, I just want the truth and of course, without being it in an insulting way. Yea, I would prefer in English and yea, I have learned Spanish first but learned English since I was 4, lol. Actually, even if Spanish was my first language (I can write in Spanish, kind of), I can write in English better than Spanish.

    And as far of the weak English, I do put in some bad grammar and I can't write down words (I write everything turned around and stuff lol) that well that sometimes my sentences doesn't make sense. Thanks again
     
  11. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    I can help you improve your English if you want, just let me know!
     
  12. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Another thing to consider, the first chapter is often the hardest to write. I tried and tried then realized I needed the story to be more complete before I could write the first chapter. I was halfway or more through my book before I went back and settled on the first chapter and how I was going to weave extensive backstory in.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    minstrel...
    my comments were relative to current 'norms' and the authors you cited wrote in an earlier time... that said, i agree 'don't' should have been 'don't usually'...

    ed...
    what are the titles of the 5 that had chapter titles?... were they fantasy or sci-fi?...
    those genres do sometimes include adult market novels with chapter titles, but it's still a comparative rarity...
     
  14. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    The Ice Age - Margaret Drabble (1977 - yes, I know, I goofed by saying that Clancy's book was the oldest on the list)
    The Hunt for Red October - Tom Clancy (1984)
    Mexico - James A. Michener (1991)
    Ahab's Wife - Sena Jeter Naslund (1999)
    Who Is Killing the Great Writers of America? - Robert Kaplow (2007)

    No, I actually read very little of either.
     
  15. Steve Day
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    Steve Day Senior Member

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    Chapter titles were quite popular in the 19th century.
    Not so much today.
     

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