1. john murphy
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    john murphy Member

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    Starting off with a BANG!

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by john murphy, Dec 19, 2012.

    I could use a little creativity help here.

    I literally start my novel with a BANG!

    My main character is chilling on the couch when a large explosion comes from somewhere outside, something like an M-80 firework going off, which intrudes on his lazy Saturday.

    I'm looking for a more creative way to express the suddenness, the loudness, and the lack of echo, reverberation, etc. The noise is not multisyllabic, like ka-boom or carump.

    If you've ever heard an M-80, you know that it is just one loud, startling burst, like whopping a phonebook on a granite countertop, or a balloon popping, but a whole lot louder.

    Does anyone have a suggestion, or will the first line just have to be...

    BANG!
     
  2. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think you've already got the creativity, since 'It sounded like someone had whopped a phonebook on to a granite countertop' sounds like a pretty vivid description to me.
     
  3. .Mark
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    .Mark Member

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    What's wrong with "BANG!"?

    You can always be more descriptive of the sound in the sentences or paragraph that follows.
     
  4. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    One doesn't always have to start with a bang to get a good start. There are action openings and active openings, and it seems a lot of beginning writers feel they need to start with a "bang" of some sort. While there's a place for everything, an Agent will look dubiously at a pure action opening unless it's good enough to grab his/her attention in the first couple of paragraphs.

    The reason for this attitude is as I said above: many new writers feel that they need to start like that. I challenge people to go look at books published by new writers, in the big six mind you, and see how they start. I'll bet you that 80% or more are active openings. If one's into science fiction, then I recommend "On Baslik Station" by David Weber and "Crossover" by Joel Shepherd as an example of how to do this. Shepherd's book short listed for a prestigious award in his home country of Australia and is well written.

    While I'm not saying don't do the 'bang' opening, I'd recommend working on making a more nuanced opening then that. There are other ways to hook your reader.
     
  5. GoldenGhost
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    GoldenGhost Contributing Member

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    I mean, maybe it's just me, but having an M-80 going off and calling it a 'large explosion' is by no means serious. It is definitely not a 'large explosion' and would do nothing more than startle someone for a second, but if you really wanted to scare someone, you could, let's say, have a quarter stick of dynamite go off somewhere nearby.. it won't cause a serious amount of damage, but it will probably be enough to shake the house, where the M-80 will do nothing of the sort.
     
  6. Venus//
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    Venus// Member

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    I think it is kind of a cliche opening. The very first sentence of a story is one of the most important sentences. It doesn't have to be fantastic or flashy, but I think it should be relevent to the story as a whole, not just one scene.
    It does depend on your audience though. A big flashy "BANG!" at the start of a story may be good for the younger reader.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it should hook the reader, but many things can do that, other than a 'bang'...
     

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