Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Cassy on Writing Opening Scenes

Someone, somewhere, told me that your opening scene should be dramatic and catch your reader's attention.  Which is true.  But I guess, in my mind that meant it had to be BIG!  EPIC! CRAZY!!

Ok, so maybe it doesn't, but I still kind of feel that way.  Your opening scene should be powerful.  I remember one of the first novels that I wrote, my opening scene was Avalon burning to the ground and the last of the gargoyles fleeing the scene.

Powerful, right?  Well, it should be.  It's the beginning.

But I've also done some more subdued beginnings.  My book, I see (which you can buy on Amazon!  Please forgive my shameless plug; I have a wedding to pay for.) starts out with the main character's history.  It tells about her childhood, her visions, and then, in the last line, drops the bombshell that she will be going to public school for the very first time.

I think that an opening scene of a book should be confusing enough for you to want to continue reading, but straightforward enough that a reader isn't completely lost.

For example, Scott Westerfeld's Uglies is REALLY good at integrating the slang and making you understand what's happening.  On the opposite end of the, Wuthering Heights, Bronte just threw you into it and gave three characters the same name, and if you couldn't figure it out, well, you just weren't sophisticated enough.

On Thursday, Alex will tell you how she handles her opening scenes!

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