Goofy (?!) Starts - Page 5


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Thread: Goofy (?!) Starts

  1. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Theglasshouse View Post
    For a good hook I read we should start with something bad happening.
    I think you mean to include a pre-existing problem that is bad. ("...he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish." Lennie has mental problems.)

    Actually, a classic start is the dame walking into his office. He likes looking at her. Her offer of money is good. It starts the story.

    Another style is to present a normal life, and then a precipitating event that causes a problem. In The Princess Diaries, that's learning she is a Princess, which causes problems but I don't think can be called bad. I would have no trouble starting a book with the main character receiving an offer of a wonderful new job. Isn't that kind of The Firm by Grisham?

    And I think you mean "something bad which starts the story." If the story starts with her cousin dying, and that drops from the story, no one is going to like that."

    So, right, problems to solve, difficulties to overcome, events which propel the main character into new situations. Something bad fits right in and is a basic technique. But not necessary.
    How to write a good start: Hidden Content . Useful, original information. Long and thorough.
    Includes Hidden Content (do you start with description?), Hidden Content (a favorite with publishers apparently), starting with Hidden Content (a lost art), and more.

  2. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    It's interesting you mention Jurassic Park because, under your definition, that book is rife with spoilers.

    If I remember right, he story begins with a series of strange animal attacks being reported, which are made clear to be escaped dinosaurs - not to mention the cover of the novel in most editions bears a T-Rex. Not to mention the title of the book is 'Jurassic Park', so we know it isn't about a koala bear sanctuary. This all, of course, comes a long way before the actual dinosaurs make their way into the narrative.

    My point is that giving a reader clear hints as to what is coming is often necessary to keep readers interested and avoid deus ex machina. It would be really weird, wouldn't it, if Crichton had totally avoided any allusion to dinosaurs until one actually appears? What makes Jurassic Park effective is not the revelation that the dinosaurs have escaped (we can guess this almost immediately, or from reading the blurb on the back) but how it happened, how it ends, and the survival stories of the humans stranded among them.?
    Actually, the cover is a T-rex fossil -- just the bones. I am not sure why they would do that except for avoid spoiling some scenes. Jurassic Park could have just fossils or animations. The opening scenes in fact are like you said -- small hints, stronger hints, and allusions, which is a standard way of handling that, that slow reveal. I agree that the scene where the paleontologist realizes there are living dinosaurs is faded by spoiling.

    The first line of the prologue is, like many first lines, normal.

    The tropical rain fell in drenching sheets, hammering the corrugated roof of the clinic building, roaring down the metal gutters, splashing on the ground in a torrent. (Jurassic Park, Crichton)
    Think "It was a dark and stormy night." There's a flashback, but the events in this scene are in chronological order. Yes, he could have written

    On the day that Roberta Carter saw what a dinosaur could do to a man, the rain was falling in torrents.
    Maybe that would have been a better start. Maybe it would be a better start for unpublished authors and published authors can get away with more. I'm just saying the actual starting sentence spoiled nothing. And yep, if the book has a blurb, it spoiled everything. The slow reveal would have been torturous, I'm guessing.
    How to write a good start: Hidden Content . Useful, original information. Long and thorough.
    Includes Hidden Content (do you start with description?), Hidden Content (a favorite with publishers apparently), starting with Hidden Content (a lost art), and more.

  3. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    I think you mean to include a pre-existing problem that is bad. ("...he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish." Lennie has mental problems.)

    Actually, a classic start is the dame walking into his office. He likes looking at her. Her offer of money is good. It starts the story.

    Another style is to present a normal life, and then a precipitating event that causes a problem. In The Princess Diaries, that's learning she is a Princess, which causes problems but I don't think can be called bad. I would have no trouble starting a book with the main character receiving an offer of a wonderful new job. Isn't that kind of The Firm by Grisham?

    And I think you mean "something bad which starts the story." If the story starts with her cousin dying, and that drops from the story, no one is going to like that."

    So, right, problems to solve, difficulties to overcome, events which propel the main character into new situations. Something bad fits right in and is a basic technique. But not necessary.
    I agreed with your points. The opening is a promise that the writer makes to the reader and can't be dropped. Maybe that's why a bad event at the beginning of the story can never be ommitted.
    Other ways to describe an opening is a crisis or turning point in a character's life. That may fit your definition with the princess having problems that develop. Because she discovers she is a princess. Or the John grisham example. I like your definition. The lowest point in a character's life is most likely another way of describing it and probably is a different way to explain it. Right now can't back up my post with examples. I did see a movie once called the machine gun preacher. In this movie the preacher starts with drugs almost kills someone and wants to change his life. Or it could kill him, if he doesn't change.

    One exercise i read has to do with rewriting famous openings in your own words or scenes so that you can be inspired to write.


    So, right, problems to solve, difficulties to overcome, events which propel the main character into new situations. Something bad fits right in and is a basic technique. But not necessary.
    I would follow as in believe in the words of good moral leaders. Rather than the beliefs of oneself.
    The most difficult thing for a writer to comprehend is to experience silence, so speak up. (quoted from a member)

  4. #44
    A story is a series of events abstracted from the continuum of life, so a start is made at a point that gives a natural break in the continuum. That could be good or bad I guess, I start my story with an arrival.
    Visit my website to read and connect to my 'soundcloud', where you can listen to stories songs and more
    Hidden Content

    A thread of links useful to writers wishing to learn
    Piglet's picks. Hidden Content

  5. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Olly Buckle View Post
    A story is a series of events abstracted from the continuum of life, so a start is made at a point that gives a natural break in the continuum. That could be good or bad I guess, I start my story with an arrival.
    I decided that there is more to a story than a series of events. I realized that a football game is a series of events, but the sportscasters try to find turning points, they try to personalize the conflict, and they would love a comeback win at the last second. And part of that is finding the start, right?

    So I've been thinking about where the precipitating event fits with the actual start. It can be anywhere, and sometimes there's already a problem and no precipitating event. An arrival sounds like the participating event. And it sounds like starting with action.
    How to write a good start: Hidden Content . Useful, original information. Long and thorough.
    Includes Hidden Content (do you start with description?), Hidden Content (a favorite with publishers apparently), starting with Hidden Content (a lost art), and more.

  6. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by DENIMATY View Post
    We knew that. But I have been trying to analyze starts, and I was surprised. First, they sometimes just dangle, unconnected to whatever comes next.
    I can guess what you mean, but I'm not sure. Example?

    I want to hear what comes out of your analysis.
    How to write a good start: Hidden Content . Useful, original information. Long and thorough.
    Includes Hidden Content (do you start with description?), Hidden Content (a favorite with publishers apparently), starting with Hidden Content (a lost art), and more.

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