Thursday, April 18, 2013

P = How Not to Kill Your Story in the Opening Paragraphs


The beginning of a story or novel is one of the hardest parts to get right. I know I've agonized over many a beginning. Did it have the right punch? Was the hook sufficient or even present? But here are a few tips to help you along the way (make sure to click through to whole article to read the rest of the tips).

Ever driven a car round a bend and seen another one heading straight at you? At 60mph? It happened to me last week. I swerved into a ditch and it clipped my wing mirror as it bulleted past. Not a good way to start a day but a great place to begin a story…

Why do so many writers get their opening paragraphs wrong?

Here are five big mistakes new authors make - and how to avoid them - based on my experience of judging 3500+ entries to date in the Writers’ Village story contest.

Mistake #1: A start that has too many characters

Good opening passages typically involve just one or two main players. Don’t bring in a cast of thousands or tell the whole history of Renaissance Florence before the action begins.
The UK crime writer Ruth Rendell typically has more than 30 named characters in every novel. Too many? Yet her novels are successful. Why? She limits her characters to just three per scene and makes each character highly memorable the moment she introduces them.
Slip in your minor characters and details of back story naturally, a fragment here and there, as the story proceeds. Limit the cast list at the start!
Click here to continue reading at Writer's Village. 

Click here to enter the giveaway for Angel Eyes until the 30th!

1 comment:

  1. A very tricky thing, those beginnings. I've got 8 main characters in mine and no they don't all appear at once. (How on earth and why on earth would you need 30 characters)? A helpful post, thank you.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Labels

11 Questions (2) 2008 Olympics (1) 2013 (1) 500 Words (1) A Breath in Time (8) A Fairy Mistake (1) A Musicological Journey Through the Twelve Days of Christmas (2) Across Time (63) Advent (1) Adventure at Anwar (8) Agent (6) Agents (5) Airlines (1) AJAiken (1) Alice in Wonderland (1) Alice Oglethorpe (7) Alphasmart Dana (6) Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (1) Andromeda Spaceways (3) Angel (5) Angel Eyes (15) Anne McCaffrey (2) Announcement (1) Annoying (1) Antique (1) Apple Bread (1) April Fool's Day (1) Arthur C. Clark (1) Asian Cuisine (3) August CSFF Blog Tour (1) Author Media (3) Ballet (2) Benjamin Franklin (1) Bird (1) Birth of a Novel (10) Bliss (1) Blog Design (7) Blog Feature (4) Blog Giveaway (30) Blog Serial (19) Blog Traffic (1) Blogging from A to Z (38) Blogging tips (1) Bond (1) Book Awards (1) Book Design (1) Book Review (6) Books (1) boxes (1) Brahms (1) Broken Wings (1) Brunch (1) Business Plans (1) Camp NaNoWriMo (20) Campaign Challenge (2) Captain America (1) Care Package (1) Carol of the Bells (1) Cat (1) Cathy St.Onge (1) CGV (1) Character Names (2) Characters (4) Chargers (1) Childish (1) China (1) Choir (2) Christmas Carol (6) Christmas Party (1) Christmas Picture Countdown (54) Christmas Tree (3) Christoper Paolini (1) Chuncheon Dak Galbi (1) Chuseok (1) College (2) Completing a First Draft. (1) Computer Trouble (2) Constant Reader (1) Contests (5) Contracts (1) Copywriting (1) Costuming (1) Cover Art (1) Creation Museum (1) Criminal Background Check (1) CSFF (7) CSFF Blog Tour (6) Curiosity Quills NaNo Virtuosos (1) CWC (1) D and D (1) dabi71 (1) Danny Kaye (1) Dark Halo (1) Darkness (1) David Garrett (1) Deadbeat Clients (1) Debut Novel (1) Decoration (2) Delia Tracy (1) Dialogue (1) Doctor Who (1) Doddie (1) Dog (3) Don King (2) Downloads (1) Dream of a Dream (6) Dreams (1) Ebooks (4) Editing (9) Elementary School (1) Elijah David (1) Ellesar (1) Energy Drinks (1) Ereader (1) Erlkonig (3) ESL (4) Evelyn (1) EvelynElizabeth (1) Exams (4) Excel (1) Excerpt (19) FallenFaerie (1) Fantasy (22) Fantasy Duology (2) Father's Time (1) Financial Reality (1) Firefly (1) Firequeen (8) Fireworks (1) First Chapter (1) Fjörgyn’s Tears (1) flash fiction (3) Flickr (1) Floral (1) Flowers (1) food (4) Free books (1) free ebook (1) Freedom (1) Freelance (2) Freewrite (6) Frozen (1) Gaming (1) Gathmandais (1) Gears (1) George MacDonald (1) Gift Wrapping (1) Good Christian Men Rejoice (1) Google (1) Google Authorship (1) Gooseberry Patch (1) Guest post (2) Gus Sanchez (2) Gymfan15 (1) Haiku (4) Hand (1) Hand painted (1) Harry Potter (1) He's a Pirate (1) Hearth (1) hereslookinatukd (1) Hero Journey (1) Hiking (2) hogglestock (1) Holly Jolly (1) Home (1) Horror (1) Houses of Enemies (2) How Great Our Joy (1) How to (1) Hunger Games (1) Hunting the Unicorn (2) ICCM (1) Imitation Novels (1) Indie Beware (1) Infant Holy Infant Lowly (1) Inheritance (1) Inheritance Cycle (1) Instant (1) Intergalactic Medicine Show (1) International Space Station (1) interview (18) It's A Wonderful Life (1) Jaap Kemp (1) Jane Eyre (1) Japanese (2) jenngersnap (1) Jennifer Mitchell (1) Jerry-Rigging (1) Jesus Jesus Rest Your Head (1) Jingle Bells (1) Job hunting (3) Joe (1) Journal Squirrel Observation (1) Joy Men (1) Kagerou (16) Kaja Colony Crisis (12) KDP Select (1) Kids (1) Kindle (1) Kite (1) Kitty (1) Korean (2) Lady Arwen (2) Lady Courage (1) Letter Game (3) Lia (2) Lia Noel (1) Light (2) Links (11) Loans (1) Local (1) Lotion (1) Love (1) Lucky Agent Contest (2) Lucy of Narnia (2) Lully Lullay (1) Lwyn: A Space Trader's Daughter Series (8) Magazines (2) Magic (1) Make a Memory (1) Mark Suddaby (1) Marketing (2) Masters in This Hall (1) Melian (1) Melian_Maia (2) Meltinalle (1) Military (1) Mistakes (1) MountainFireflower (1) movie (3) My Other Blog (1) My Place Journal (2) Mythology (1) NaNo (129) Nanoisms (2) NaNoWriMo NW Feature (23) NaNoWriMo Spotlight (22) NaNoWriMo Winner (1) Narnian_Badger (1) NarniaWeb (23) Narniawebbers (26) Nature Journal (2) Nature Writing (10) New Year's (2) Newsletter (2) Nicole Lewis (1) Noel Nouvelet (1) North Korea (1) Novel Ideas (2) Observations (2) Operation Christmas Child (2) Ornament (2) Out of Season (1) Outlining (1) Painting (1) Pathfinders (18) Pathfinders Journal (15) Pern (1) Photo Challenge (13) Photo Journal (7) Photos (12) Piano (2) Pictures (15) Pirates of the Carribean (1) Platform-Building Campaign (6) Play (4) Playwriting (3) Plot Bunnies (1) Plot Structure (1) poetphoenix (1) Point of No Return (8) Poll (1) Preschool (1) Present (4) Presidential Election (1) Publishing (3) Publishing Companies (1) Publishing Map (1) Publishing Opportunites (1) Q (3) Query (4) Query Shark (1) Query Tracker (2) Quotes (5) Rain (1) Random House (1) Recital (1) Recommended Reading (1) Rejection (1) Reka (1) RekaStormborn (1) Relaxation (1) Rembrant (1) Representation (1) Rise of the Runelords (15) River_Song (1) Robin McKinley (1) Ryn (1) Sales (3) Sandy (3) Santa (1) Sarah (1) Scams (1) Scarf (1) Scene Transitions (1) Scene Writing (1) School (24) Sci-fi (25) Scientific Wings (1) Script Frenzy (2) Self-Publishing (7) Senior Thesis (1) SEO (1) Shadowrun (1) Shadowrunning (2) Shakespeare (1) Shannon Dittemore (2) shastastwin (1) Sherry Rentschler (1) Shimmer (1) Shine (1) Short Story Ideas (1) Sickness (3) Sing we all Noel (1) Singing Bears (1) Sister (1) Sittybus (1) Snake (1) Snow (5) Social Media (2) Soft to Touch (1) Song (2) South Korea (8) Space (1) Stardf29 (1) Stephen Lawhead (1) Story (15) Story Beginning (2) Story Inspiration (1) Supernatural (3) Suspense (1) Tainted Loves (1) Taxes (1) Teaching (7) Thanksgiving (5) The Bone House (1) The Court Jester (1) The Door in the Sky (6) The Eye of the Sword (11) The Harper Hall of Pern (1) The Hobbit (1) The Old Has Passed Away... (5) The Piano Guys (1) The Skin Map (1) The Spirit Well (1) The Story Within (4) The Telling (1) Thriller (1) Ticket (1) Timber (1) Time Novella #2 (2) Time Travel (53) Time Traveler (24) Touristy Stuff (1) Traveling (1) Triva Quiz (1) Trivia Quiz (1) Twilight (2) Twitter (3) Unseenedge (1) Vacation (1) Valerie Hamer (1) ValNomad (1) Vanity Presses (1) Victor's Crown (1) Victory (1) Video (16) Villains (1) Vintage (1) Visa (1) Wattpad (1) Website building (1) Weekly Roundup (7) Whetstone (4) White Elephant (1) Why not? (1) wild rose (2) Will (2) Wine (1) Winterlife (1) WIP (1) Wonder Writer (1) Word Fun (1) World Book Night (1) Wren (1) Write-in (1) Writer's Block (1) Writer's Digest (2) Writing (3) Writing Concepts (1) Writing Contest (8) Writing Goals (1) Writing Links (35) Writing Village (1) Wuthering Heights (1) YA (3) Yakisoba (1) Yard Sale (1)