1. Dauracul
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    Dauracul Member

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    Would like some advice on my story introduction.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Dauracul, Nov 23, 2010.

    Hey everyone. I have a good concept for starting off my story, but I just can't find the right words and theme to put it down on paper. Hopefully one of you can give me some feedback on it!

    Without going into too much detail, the story is heavy on time travel. Basically, at the start of the story, the character starts off where he ends up at the end of the story, and is in the process of dying. The body of the story tells the tale of how he ended up there, of course, but this particular scene is giving me some trouble.

    I want to establish the fact that this story is heavy on time travel without revealing too much of what happens. This character is in a position to explain a lot, because he finds a truth about the world and himself he had been chasing through his entire journey. I want to focus on a centralized theme here as I talk about how close this character is to death.

    My current ideas are these:

    1. Focus on the concept of self. This is my current model, and something about it just doesn't feel right. Basically is focuses on how the character finally discovers who he really is.

    2. Focus on the concept of time. This one is iffy because I feel it lays out too much info about the story.

    Any advice on this matter is definitely appreciated.
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I tend not to plan my stories - each opening to the same story can take it going in a completely different direction. A plane just one degree off, will end up miles from the planned destination.

    My stories have varied with some I have rewritten the start about six or seven times - maybe more before finding the one that is write. Each will produce a different story.
     
  3. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    Why not just pick one and go?

    One author, DW Smith, says there are stories and there are manuscripts. The story is the tale inside his head; the manuscript is the on-paper version. Some stories will have so many conflicting ideas behind them that he'll try to write them down once, and then try again a few years later, and then a third time, resulting in a different "manuscript story" each time. Each manuscript has something different; they are genuinely different takes on the same situation, getting perhaps closer and closer to the "core" of whatever he was trying to say originally.

    If you're not sure about the "exploring the self" theme, write it out as best you can. You can go back later and try to re-tell this or a very similar story with the other theme as your focus.

    Something else I found telling was this phrase from your post: "I just can't find the right words." Well, that happens to most writers. The problem is you never get better until you put down the best words you can, as of right now, because getting stuck won't gain you the experience you need to feel more comfortable with writing. You need to write, to finish your story, even if you can tell that it isn't as good as you wanted. That's fine. Honest, scout's honor, every writer goes through the same "Oh gawd my story's dying on me" experience, and only by surviving it and continuing on do we really become better writers.
     
  4. Jaybrownuk
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    Jaybrownuk Member

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    I think the best way of approaching your problem is to draft both beginnings and see which one you feel the most comfortable writing. At the end you can compare and choose or ever combine the two. Just a thought. :)
     
  5. Whizp
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    Whizp Senior Member

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    I agree with the above - go with the one you like best - you can always change it at a later date
     
  6. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    It seems to me you really don't like either. My sole piece of advice is to not give the reader information about the story, just tell the story. My stories all tend to start in the middle of something, and so my openings tend to focus on time, place and circumstances. A bad habit that I think I have finally gotten past is to rush to get everything out as soon as possible. You can be leisurely in introducing elements of the story, and especially any backstory.

    Good luck.
     
  7. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    This is a question that is pretty much impossible to answer. I think if you just sit down and start writing, you will be fine. You know what you want to do, but not how to do it. The only way you're going to learn how you want to do it is if you just try something, and just build off it, edit it, and revise it, until you like it. If you write it today, I am almost certain that by the time you finish the whole project, you will have gone over it dozens of times, changing and re-changing it, so I would not focus on it at this time. More importantly, I think you should just start.
     
  8. Newfable
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    Newfable Senior Member

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    Don't focus on concepts. Don't focus on themes. The introduction has to capture the reader, or they'll feel lost from page one. It has to raise enough questions to keep the reader interested, and build a sort of trust that those questions will be answered, some sooner than later.

    If the character is dying at the beginning (end?) of the novel, focus on them dying. Focus on their regrets. Focus on their past. Focus on their future. Focus on their wants and desires, their dreams and goals; did they accomplish what they wanted to in their life? Focus on what they're seeing, on what they're feeling at the moment of their death; readers connect very strongly with that kind of thing, being as emotional as it can be.

    You're going to want to capture the reader with what's going on, not with concepts or themes. Those come into play later on, once you have the reader's full attention. Then it'll hit them hard, and make the reader think about what it is they're reading. But at the start, hook 'em, as fast and as good as you can.
     

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