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Thread: A Strong Start...?

  1. #1
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    Default A Strong Start...?

    I'm working on a fanfiction that I plan to be posting soon (The Ties That Bind (R)) I have plot after plot for scenes in the story, multiple things have been set up yet I have one problem that a lot of people probably have as well. I can't figure out how to start the bleeding thing (Pardon my French). Can I have advice for creating an opening scene, and how to introduce a couple of my main characters? When I try to figure out where to open up, I read over it and it sounds stupid, or doesn't make sense. I need help... @-@;


  2. #2
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    It's often good to start by introducing the characters "in their element" - doing the kinds of things they enjoy doing or do on a normal day before the story proper begins. The purpose of that would be to give the reader a sense of who the character fundamentally is so that they can go on to know how typical their reaction to the first plot events is and have a sense of what has changed about them as the story goes on. (Of course, that means you shouldn't be showing things they only do on a normal day because everyone does them on a normal day - like getting up in the morning and brushing their teeth. That's not interesting. Make it something that distinguishes this character from others and embodies them in some interesting way.)

    You can actually do the same thing indirectly, at least if you're using a fairly introspective perspective by having the character be not in their element and showing their thoughts as they deal with that - it also establishes that sort of status quo for the character and tells us something about them, sometimes more than if they were in their element. For some stories and character this kind of introduction works better than the former.

    Even without the in-their-element/not-in-their-element abstraction, the point is it's often very effective to start off with a scene that establishes what kind of person your main character is, emphasizing those traits that are central to their arc in the story. If your main character is a Pokémon trainer who will do anything to win, start with a Pokémon battle where they resort to brutal, underhanded tactics; if it's a timid kid unable to stand up for themselves, show them getting pushed around by someone; if it's someone obsessed with getting revenge on the man who killed their family, show them ruthlessly trying to beat information out of someone who knows someone who knows who it was. It gives a sense of what's important to the character at this point and a sense of how we're going to see them developing in the future.

    Of course, trumping all other concerns is that the beginning needs to hook the reader in; you need to convey very quickly the message that your story is going to be a good read. So if starting with something like that is just slow and boring, then go with something else, maybe teasing at what the plot is going to be about, showing the villain, or whatever.

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  3. #3

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    One thing I always think of when starting a story is not 'what' but 'how.'

    In other words, does my opening set the tone for the piece and give the readers a decent idea of what's to come. It's probably not a good idea to start on a fart joke if you're writing about a cancer patient unless you've some sort of dead baby comedic twist going on.

    I hope that's easy to understand.

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  4. #4
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    Another wisdom for you. One if the few ways to make a good start is making a prologue. Normally, a prologue is quite much more about a glimpse of your entire story before starting with the first chapter. How does it act? I have 2 common examples.

    I. Past Event Prologue:

    This one involves showing an event of the character's beginning in the past before the present. Or it could be showing history of your world's past before the main protagonist's present event.

    One good example is the first scenes of "The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker". At the start (after you typed your name in the new game), it shows Ocarina Link's journey from Ocarina of time. And years later later, evil Ganon came to destroy the world again. But this time, the hero never returned to save old hyrule. Which is why the people way back then left their lives at the hands of fate. One ALMOST THE WHOLE WORLD of Old Hyrule drowned underwater. Many Years later, the survivors from old hyrule (who escaped the flood) began living their lives again. But the new generation of children don't believe the Legends of old told by the survivors. The legends of old hyrule are nearly forgotten and it only hangs by the threads of the wind. All that the old people wanted to show is to preach their wisdom to the new generation about courage. This is where his journey begins.

    This, in the example, Toon link (lets call him Wind Waker Link) is just like every other ordinary kid in the whole game at the start. He reflects the "New Generation" of children. He has no bloodline relation to the Old Hero of Time at all, he does not believe the tales of old, and he even wonders why his grandma kept telling him about that old legend. If you play the game itself, you'll realize that he actually does terrible early on (unlike the other links of other times). Toon Link has TO EARN the title of THE HERO OF THE WINDS. Which means, he is separated from his predecessors.

    My example no. 2 will be from my original story. Feli Chronicles Vitandes. Click the link below my signature. Read it for yourself.

    II. Future event Prologue

    This one will show more about the near end or ending of the story as to how your character or event lived the whole story. Like, lets say, you showed a tale where a human queen had too much faith with her Victini to carry her creed for an age of prosperity. That in the end, Queen Victini, instead of bringing her kingdom to peace, she brought it to wars that ended Victini being banished by the legendary council.

    Which means, your chapter should start looking back at the past. Following the example, how about you show the story as to how the human queen met victini.

    Just as Dragonfree (why does his/her name remind me of a butterfree and dragonite hybrid) said, the way you represent it is crucial, especially at the start.
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  5. #5
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    This website has some great ideas for coming up with a start to it: http://www.dailywritingtips.com/20-g...of-your-story/

    I get stuck on that too.

  6. #6
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    Dilasc has a good point about showing us the tone of the story from the very beginning (not that the others here don't have good advice). Judging from what I'm gathering by the title of your story and its projected rating, it's going to be a pretty dark story. I could be wrong, though, and it's rated that way due to strong language and/or vulgar humor, but it's obviously going to have mature themes. So you should almost immediately from the beginning show us just how mature the story can get. Not saying you should have the juiciest parts as the first sentence/paragraph, but you should give us a taste of what's to come.

    The first couple of chapters are used for introductory purposes, so that's how you should start it: introducing us to this world, and the main character(s) involved. You will have to have a strong hook, though, and I guess that's where you're having trouble. You really want to hook people in, and stay with the story. Start experimenting with possible openings you have in mind, and go with the one you feel has the most impact. If it'll help, think of the chapter as the start of a composition, and find your "thesis statement". Be a little creative, if you must. In fact, you should be a little creative from the get-go. You need to show us your story is unique from other stories out there in its genre, and what better way to do that than to show off your creativity?

    We can't give you your hook, you'll have to come up with this on your own. But if we point you down the right track, you should be able to find what you're looking for. Good luck!
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  7. #7
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    I have trouble with openings myself, but I think it depends on the storyline itself. If the story is in first person, then it could have a different array of starting points then a third-person story. For example, a first person story can start with, "I can never believe that of all the things that could've happened this did..." or something like that. With third person, you can write, "Tony looked up at the darkening sky, and found himself lost in its beauty..." and follow with a conversation with other characters about said sky, or life in general.

    Starting a story in the middle, or in the far past before the actual story takes shape, isn't a bad idea either. Those sort of things can drag the reader in as well.

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  8. #8
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    What you want on an opening scene is one character. At least let that character communicate with another one, particularly one that would take a major role in the story. Then, let it develop into a scene, but don't let it jump directly to the plot. This often leads to too much confusion, and you would have to present everything on one sitting.

    In the beginning, just focus on the characters, and let them speak in the beginning of the story, just so we could get the general gist of the main characters' personalities. Then, let that communication scene develop into whatever else you want to present into the story. If you really want to emphasize your plot, make sure to present the current situation in the prologue.
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  9. #9
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    Ah, the initial scene of a story. Bad memories, bad memories. I was stuck on mine for a long time before I found one that worked to my satisfaction.

    Anyways, an opening scene could introduce the main character or a supporting character, but it could also depict a major event in the story, such as a battle, or a conflict between two opposing factions within your story. Initially, it can have nothing to do with the characters at all, only becoming relavent later on. A scene like this helps draw readers in, and keeps them interestred.

    So, I know you want to introduce main character(s) right off the bat, but if that doesn't seem to be working, you could try this solution and save the characters for the next scene/chapter, whenever it might suit you. Just a suggestion, among the many in this thread.

    Well, if you're going to go with introducing the main characters, I suggest have them do something unexpected or interesting as to hook the readers. I haven't much experiance in this department, as I went with my previous suggestion and depicted a major plot event, but I hope this helped somewhat.

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  10. #10
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    I like the idea of starting a story with the inciting incident. Whatever major event kicks off the main plot, I mean. If you want to instantly hook the reader, give them a little taste of what's to come, maybe just a paragraph or two with a really striking set of imagery, maybe a glimpse of the main character in crisis. And then the rest of the first chapter could be that character's normal day, long before the incident.

  11. #11
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    Hrmm... thank you everyone^^ all of your ideas have helped a TON.
    I already have an idea in my head you're all awesome thank you!!

    I think I'm going to attempt mainly what Dragonfree said about showing my characters in their element, but at the same time I'll try Dislac and Kutie Pie's ideas about setting the tone for the story. And of course I will add a bit of my own creative twists to be 'spontaneous'^^ I'll definitely take Falcario's advice about letting them speak as well.
    Thanks-a-bunch everyone^w^ I hope to post my first chapter soon~:3


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