Why Stories Should Never Begin At The Beginning.
He makes his point quickly, and he makes it well.
“The point is that I got to the fucking point.”
Just give it a read. It’s fast and it stabs right at the heart of the problem that oh-so-many writers experience, myself included.
I also have a counter to it though…
I loved this post and thought it was great advice.
That being said, this trend of starting right in the action, with you main character in the worst trouble of their life, has me of two minds.
On the one hand, it makes for compelling reading that draws you in lickety-split.
But on the other, what is happening to exposition, to showing characters how they are *before* they are fighting for their life? So often we’re dropped right into a compelling tale without having really any idea of *who* the main character is, what they’re like normally.
I’m hearing more and more editors and publishers saying you have to hook your audience on the first page, in the first paragraph, in the *first sentence*. Well ok, but I’ll be damned if I’m not going to go back and give a little exposition after I bait the hook.
I don’t write my books like I’m telling the story to a friend in a bar, because that’s not what I’m doing. They’re reading a book. And if the story is compelling enough, I want them to be able to have the attention span to read what’s going on a little bit before my character is bleeding to death on the steps of the art gallery.
Thanks for reading.
One Reply to ““Why Stories Should Never Begin At The Beginning”: A Xpost by Chuck Wendig”
Personally, I think exposition can be overrated. I think a lot of the time, how the characters got to Event X, is not nearly as interesting as what they do after Event X. Take a love story: how the two characters fell in love does not seem as interesting to me as what happens after they fall in love. Because a lot of the time that critical event is the catalyst for a lot more conflict, and conflict is what good stories are based on. But beginning at the beginning can work. That’s what John Irving does best.