Daybreak is a lovely thing to watch unfold, but the actual sunrise happens in the span of a single breath.
One moment the sun is beneath the horizon; the next, it’s above. If you’re the sort of early-bird person who likes to know what time the sunrise is slated to occur, you can look it up and get an answer that’s timed to the minute.
Your story, too, has a precise moment of beginning. The hijinks in your fictional world may have started eons ago; your hero may have been destined for glory since the fateful day she was born.
But there’s one particular moment in which you, the writer and decider of these things, choose to open the curtain. You choose the exact day, minute, and millisecond in which we readers get our first glimpse of your hero breaking over the horizon, so to speak.
Often, writers struggle to know what that momentous first scene should be. There’s so much we want the reader to know!
With the best of intentions, we craft prologues full of “mood” and backstory. We set the scene, lay out the genealogy, unpack the cast of characters, and draw our readers a map.
This kind of throat-clearing might convey information, but it’s not storytelling. Do your reader a favor and start your book where the story starts! In this livestream I talk about how to do exactly that (and share a few notorious openings to avoid!).
My weekly livestream happens on Wednesdays at 1 PM Pacific. Come live and participate! Or catch the replays here on the blog. You can leave your questions and comments below.
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