Wednesday, March 16, 2011

3 Places to Start Your Story -- Plotting

After analyzing and discovering this is indeed a story for you to tell one has to know how to begin. The opening few pages are what catches a reader's or an editor's eyes. So where to begin? There are three places. The reason for a story is because of a change occurring in a character's life. This change can be in environment, in social life or in the interior life.

1. A moment before the change occurs. One problem with starting here is the desire to put the whole back story in before the event occurs. Long passages of prose tend to turn a reader off; One has to quickly establish the character. Sort of like this.
The final words of the minister sounded. "I now pronounce you man and wife." Lars turne and kissed me. At last, I thought. I turned to face the members of the congregation and frowned. Where was Molly? My best friend had promised she would be here. Without waiting for Lars I dashed down the aisle and headed for a phone.

2. In the middle of the action. Problems here is to get the when and where into the action without again, large blocks of prose.
Bullets slammed into the wall above Jane's head. Who and why? The streets of the small town had always been safe. She rubbed her arms against the chill sunless November day. There had to be an escape.

3. A moment after the event. Here, telling a bit about the event that triggers the story can once more evolve into long passages of prose and back story.
Susan stood on the balcony of her new apartment and stared at the river. Her life had changed. A bit scary but thinking of the new challenges excited her. She went inside to finish packing.

These are sort of done off the top of my head but they give an idea of what is meant. More on the important opening pages of a story next week.

1 comment:

Tara Stearns said...

Hi Janet - Love the tips. Thanks!