How does a story start.

Thursday, 28 July 2011 10:34 am
staticsan: Portion of my FrogPad (typing)
I'm in the process of re-drafting a story. This is basically a balancing act between not enough planning and too much planning. Somewhere in there is a nice middle ground that lets me be creative in the actual words-on-the-page creating process without getting lost in some uncharted plotline.

Well, that's the idea. In the meantime, I have a growing To Be Read pile which is annoying me. And since writing takes more spool-up time than reading, I've given in and started putting novels back into my work bag. Several of those in the last fortnight have been recent novels by Sir Terry Pratchett. And if there's one thing Sir Terry does very well is tell a story. Ironically, this is my (current) biggest weakness. Sounds like a teachable moment.

So how does a Discworld novel begin? The classic description of a story beginning is 1) Setup and Exposition 2) An Inciting Incident. Or something like that. In the last three DW novels I've begun (The Wee Free Men, A Hatful of Sky and Going Postal), I've noticed that Sir Terry coalasces the start of his plot in the following ways:
  • Describe the protagonist's world but with it tilted so the protagonist is immediately off-balance.
  • Use this to take them through a scene that changes their view of their world
  • Now send them on a mission that they don't want to do but have to.
My task for Rain is to do that for my protagonist.

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