2017 THEME: Editing Fiction (Because that's what I'm in the middle of doing.)
What is the Blogging from A to Z challenge and where can I find more participants? Right here.
Introducing your story to a reader starts at the beginning. There are four beginnings we're going to touch on today, but we'll start with the obvious: The beginning of the story.
When editing, you want to make sure your story is starting at the actual beginning of the story. This point will depend on your genre and your voice, but generally this isn't where your character is waking up or taking in the picturesque scenery. It's where something is happening.
When writing that first draft, we start where we think the story starts, but that doesn't mean we were correct. Take a good look at the whole story now that its finished and make sure its the closest to that something moment.
The something can seem like a delicate balancing point. I don't mean where someone is suddenly on fire or a car crash / gun fight / bar brawl, but the point where the thing that launches your character into the story happens. Something interesting. It doesn't have to be huge with fireworks and flashing lights, but make it catchy. Make us want to know more about the character, situation, or world around them.
Next up: the beginning of your chapters. If you're switching POV with each chapter, make it clear which head we're in in the opening sentences so we're not floundering. While I enjoy a good mystery, whose head I'm now in isn't one of them. Make it clear if we've jumped to a new setting or advanced a significant amount of time from the previous chapter. And again, we should start with something interesting happening.
Now we're going to get nitpicky, take a look the beginning of your paragraphs. Do three in a row start with the same person's name or word? Time for some rewriting.
Maximum picky level: start looking at the beginning of your sentences. Last week I picked up a book where every sentence in the long opening paragraph began with "He". You would be correct if you guessed that I put that book right back on the shelf. Also watch for starting a sentence with the same word that ended the last one. It's distracting when reading.
Have any story introductions that drove you nuts or a favorite to share?