Would my real start please stand up?
Monday August 29, 2011 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Blogging
I’ve been studying structure and reading my favorite blogs in the off time when I’m not working on my rewrite. There‘s lots of great advice out there if you look for it but there is nobody to give you the “right” answer on how your book should actually start. I’ve started this book 5 different ways, each rewritten several times … a longwinded lead up to where the story starts, a hook that had nothing to do with the story, a start with no real hook, a start with a hook that actually has something to do with the plot but not the main plot. Would my real start please stand up?
It’s very good advice to get in as late as possible and get out as soon as you can, but defining those points is easier to describe than it is to accomplish. I’ve learned that the beginning of the story needs to relate to the main problem of the book, but there is also a lot written about making the beginning of the story grab the reader. I’ve also learned that it’s a great technique to introduce all five senses to the reader in the first few pages to make it a visceral experience. That’s a lot of stuff to balance at the beginning, so how do you find that perfect moment?
I feel like I am getting conflicting advice on this so I’m actually doing two beginnings: one that doesn’t start quite as fast then has a nice hook, and one where it skips past that slower part and introduces the main plot shortly afterward. I like them both, but I think there is actually a “right” answer here. What I’m afraid of is that the right answer will be different for different people. It’s making me write the first 5 odd chapters twice. The rest of the book will flow normally from there. I think the remaining edits will be pretty straight forward.
I’m going to see what my alpha and beta readers say I guess. Is that lame?