1. Branwyn
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    Branwyn New Member

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    Where to start?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Branwyn, Aug 15, 2012.

    In the story I am writing, I want to start it with a vision or a dream before introducing the main character (it would be her dream). At the same time, the entire story is based around a legend or a prophecy (still working that out) that I feel should be introduced at the start of the story. I'm a bit undecided if this would be acceptable, or if it would be better to just start at the dream and work the legend in at a later time.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. exnihilo
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    exnihilo New Member

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    Work the legend in later. I'm assuming the dream/vision has something to do with the legend, so it might be fun for the reader to discover the legend along with the character, rather than having it shoved under our noses right off the bat. Remember, if you start with the vision, it's got to mean something, since it's the proverbial gun on the mantlepiece.

    Good luck!
     
  3. marktx
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    marktx Contributing Member

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    Best way to handle this kind of dilemma--try it and see if it works! Worst thing that can happen is that you might decide it didn't work the way you hoped it might, and then you have to revise. But revising, retrying, scrapping, and restarting is how stories get written. Don't think you are etching something in stone. Instead, imagine that you are shaping something out of Silly Putty, and feel free to change your mind until you come up with something you are happy with.
     
  4. auntiebetty
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    auntiebetty Active Member

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    A school of thought...start with "the incident". The dream is the incident that propels the character and plot forward. The dream can be long and colorful and full of past truths or fantasies, as well as forebodings. If your beginning sentence grips the reader, you can propel the reader forward throughout the dream, and on to the second chapter, etc.

    I have just started in July to work on a novel where I want to start with "the incident". It seems easy if "the incident" comes first and then everything else unfolds in a forward sequence. But, in my case, there is a lot of history leading up to "the incident". My book is a fictional "Who Done It" based on a true incident (murder) that happened during the USA's roaring twenties. My first chapter is the incident (time, setting, circumstances, etc.), a guy getting shot dead by one bullet during an amatuerish ambush by multiple shooters. In the true story, the justice system convicted five different characters of first degree murder, but never found the murder weapon nor determined who pulled the trigger. My book introduces a fictional character who eluded capture (but will either be killed by the other perperatrators prior to the trials, or live and be in future stories). The fictional person can't be the narrator because the narrator has to know all the other characters and this one doesn't and that's one of the reasons the character has eluded the police.
    Your turn to help me. If Chapter 1 is "the incident", what is my second chapter???
     
  5. DanesDarkLand
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    DanesDarkLand Senior Member

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    Myself, I am avoiding prophecy and legend. Its too common a theme set up. But the vision, well, those are always fluid, able to be changed based on what's happening within the story line. Your characters may be marched to a prophecy, lining up for events already scripted. but with a vision, without a legend, allows your characters to determine where they will go based on what they would do individually, based on the actions of others, information available, and that information could be transmitted via the vision. this could change based on actions taken, therefore keeping the adventure fluid.
     
  6. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Whatever you decide to start with, it needs to hook the reader very strongly, to want to keep reading. Prologues are usually temporally distant to the current story (ie. something that happened way back when) but they are very much related to the plot.

    There's no hard and fast rules, plenty of good writers write excellent prologues (or temporally distant first chapters, same thing) thus hooking the readers and providing a "lightbulb moment later on in the book, when the reader puts two and two together, so to say, and yet many a bad writer manages to bore the readers to death and give the prologues a bad name.
     
  7. Branwyn
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    Branwyn New Member

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    Thanks for all your feedback. I think I'll start with the dream and working everything else in later. It is not how I planned it but the more I think about it, the more I like it. Like was said, nothing is written in stone and if it sucks, I can always change it. Thank you!
     
  8. Bjørnar Munkerud
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    Bjørnar Munkerud Contributing Member

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    I start my story right before my main character's older brother gets murdered, because that's very important for his life later. I suggest you start wherever the "story starts", where the interesting stuff begins, or, as other writers have said before me, "as close to the end as possible": include everything that is necessary for the plot, but no more.

    Sometimes flashbacks work best, sometimes you want to start with the preparations for, say, a robbery, and sometimes you want to start in medias res, or even after things have happened, and then explain them later. Just don't include uninteresting pieces at the start, middle or end or the story. Don't make it too short, too long, too boring, too unintelligible etc.

    In the end it's you as the actual author of your story who know best. Try out different things. Stick with what works (best).
     

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