Nanowrimo Prep: Opening Scene

For those of you who’ve been following along with this little segment, welcome back!

If you haven’t been, take a look at what we’ve been talking about. Here are all the links you’ll need:

Nanowrimo: Early prep time!

Nanowrimo Prep: Why I’m going to have a designated do NOT write day

Nanowrimo Prep: Snack time!

Nanowrimo Prep: Outlining

If you’re wondering what Nanowrimo is, I urge you to check out those links for more explanation! But, now let’s get on with the show!

If you’re prepping for Nano, you’ve been thinking about a few things (or should be). You may be asking questions like: Where do I start? Do I outline or not? How am I going to find the time to write 50k in one month? Well, this series in to help you answer all these burning questions BEFORE Nano starts! In this post we’ll be covering your starting scene. This is VERY important and will help you set the feel for your book, as well as motivate you to go on!

I urge everyone participating in Nano to spend some time thinking about this opening scene. Since you’re all writers, I’m sure you spend some portion of your day thinking about scenes in your books or books to-be! I know I spend at least an hour or two (mostly on the bus to work or before bed). Now is the time to redirect that brain power to your opening scene.

If you already have ideas, GREAT! If you don’t, here are some suggestions I have for you:

  • Start with something interesting. WOW how could I be anymore clear? I know, it sounds obvious, but a lot of people will start out with something that doesn’t draw in the mind of a reader let alone their own interest.
  • Don’t start with a fight scene. It’s tempting, I know. I love writing fight/battle sequences, but if you do, YOU may be inspired but whoever is reading it later will have no idea who they’re voting for because they’re not connected with your character yet. I recommend waiting until chapter 2 to bring out the battle moves.
  • Perfect your opening line. Like a query letter, starting your story off with a good line will propel you into the story, hook a reader and get you down to business.
  • Don’t over describe. I hate this. Don’t do it. I don’t need to know every detail about the room they’re in. I want to know your protagonist, not the color of the drapes.
  • Don’t introduce too many characters. I would limit yourself to two or three maximum. There’s nothing worse than being assaulted with a hundred characters/names/places that leave you breathlessly wondering WHO THE HELL ARE THESE PEOPLE?!

For a few examples, I’ll tell you guys about opening scenes I’ve written into my books:

  • Sanctum starts out with Skye interrogating her latest lead. She’s trying to find someone and oh boy will she ever find him or kill this guy trying. It’s not a fight, but it tells you how serious Skye is about finding her brother. I introduce what her motives are (family killed) and who she’s after (evil brother). Personally I find it’s a good start, that leads to this guy telling her what she wants to know. She then follows this lead to a underground Metahuman fight club and that’s where the first chapter ends. Interesting right? Well I think so!
  • Haven starts out a bit more tame! You can actually read the first chapter on the World’s Best Story website if you’re looking for more info or inspiration. But basically the opening scene is with Haven in her room before her coronation. It’s mostly just interesting thought going on, but it introduces you to her power (can’t die) and the situation at hand (about to rule a kingdom that she never expected to rule). It proceeds to her coronation followed by receiving an arrow to the heart, which she quickly recovers from. All of this introduces you to my protagonist. You also get to meet more characters, but not in great enough detail to confuse you (I hope).
  • The Aldar Dominion‘s opening scene is about the two main characters this time, Selene and Rikkard. It focuses on Selene, dangling out of a hovercraft ready to infiltrate a laboratory of sorts. It’s a good look at Selene’s character (sassy and reckless) as well as Rikkard’s (dour and bossy), while throwing you right into their lives (which involve being international smugglers).

Now that you hopefully have some ideas about where to start, I’d love to have some comments with your suggestions for others or tell me about how you’re going to start your story this year! My next blog post should be later this week, and will be more about the writing process or what I’m going to be writing about. There’s less than a month until November guys!!! SO CLOSE! I hope y’all are ready 😉

Stay classy internet!

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