How’s the writing going for you? (I know, you just told me a few days ago, but it was so nice to hear others going through the same processes, that I’m asking again. It makes me feel like I’m not writing alone!)
I threw away my plot a week ago, when I mistakenly discussed it with DH. Yesterday, I decided to unthrow it away, after thinking about it again. It’s the story that I need to tell. I hope I can pull it off!
I’m starting to enjoy the slower pace of summer. I wish I could carry that pace all year long! So yesterday I was studying beginnings, while letting the story take shape in my head. Of the thrillers I studied, the beginnings I liked best had these five elements:
1) Immediate Danger: The action and suspense started right away, with danger motivating the characters to do something.
2) Vividness: The language is colorful and the verbs are strong and active.
3) Atmosphere: Close to #2, but it’s not just the verbs and vividness. The atmosphere of the book is set right away, whether it’s dark, noir, hard, funny, etc.
4) Starts the End: I don’t know how else to explain it, but the best beginnings ’start the end.’ They foreshadow and hook into the plot that will drive the whole book. For example, if someone is kidnapped, then we know the whole book is going to be about the rescue. The question is how, and who will get killed in the process? The beginning starts with a situation that the rest of the book tries to fix.
5) Shows Character: The best writers manage to draw the main characters completely and instantly, in one or two sentences. Stephen King is best at this; we instantly know who his characters are and what they’re like on the first page. Of course, the author fleshes out the character more and more over the course of the novel, but we get a strong first impression.
All the beginnings I liked had these five elements within the first page or two. Amazing! That’s a lot to ask for in a couple pages! I have a feeling this first chapter is going to take me a couple weeks to write, but then it should be much easier going. I hope!