There are –not a good way to open a story, THERE WERE or THERE ARE…just saying. These are not rules but rather what I have learned over a lifetime of writing: Never start your story describing a sunset or a moonglow or a stand of trees UNLESS there is a dangerous character, or characters, dancing around the trees and they can be real or they can be in the mind of your character.
Open instead with your character—be he the hero/heroine or the villain, or some Igor working for the villain. Open specifically with what s/he is doing, particularly with the hands. What sort of pie are those hands in? Mud pie from digging a hole in a cemetery during a downpour? Stitching up or zipping up a body bag? Working over papers, records, files at a desk? Hands on head, storming out of a building, having just gotten bad news? Hands coddling a Whiskey Sour at a bar?
READ ON: cover art here by www.srwalkerdesigns.com – book of short terror tales…
Trust me on this. It works for getting you off the beam. It can be used for Chapter One, but also any episode or chapter. In rewrites, you can fine-tune the hand and body movements to fit well with the dialogue or thoughts going about inside the characters cranium.
As both an author and a writing professor of many, many years, I do believe I have some actually useful writing TIPS for any and all who wish to write and write well. Come back again for more blog activity, and see my previous blogs here as well. Find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Tik-Tok. And see below for my most recent cool American Indian Western, featuring Tsali ‘Jesse’ Goingback, saved from hanging, given a Gun, a Badge, and a license to kill in Indian Territory. No one’s ever done a western like Ghost Gun – the Outlaw Badge.
And, of course, thanks for visiting and listening to the old fella…
This is what I call the HANDS-ON approach to getting underway with your scene. Imagine if you will, your reader anxious to get into what’s happening, but you instead have your characters in rocking chairs at some beach resort and they never get off the porch, nor do anything whatsoever with their body parts—like their hands.
You want to get her climbing out of bed, pushing on her slippers, annoyed at the janitor who’d promised to bring back the heat. You want to get him leaning in over a body, his gloved hands gentle at work, his eyes scanning for the wounds. In short, get your characters, rather than your narrator walking and talking for themselves as that equals ACTION. There is a need for narrative passages to get from here to there, yes, but why would we listen to your narrator on a point of medical significance? So get those hands, feet, knees, arms, going across the stage of your scene.