Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Questions about Beginnings (part 6 of 9)

Are those purposes also true in fiction? If we’re writing fiction, we need to remember the principles I've mentioned in previous blogs. And there is more.

In fiction, we need to insert other elements close to the beginning. We introduce our major character as early as possible. Unconsciously, readers identify with the protagonist—male or female—because reading is a vicarious experience. For ten minutes or ten hours we become someone else as we turn pages.

Be sure to make the time period clear. Unless you tell us differently, we'll assume it's the present. But don't have people fight with swords or radioactive beams without making readers know the era.

Don't underestimate the importance of place. We're all creatures who occupy space on the earth and we want to know where a story takes place. Place is like an anchor. Once we know we're in Sydney, Australia, or Rye, New York, we can enjoy the story instead of wondering, "Where is this taking place?"

Good novelists know the important elements of a superb beginning—and they include them.


  1. Great points to ponder today Cec as I begin to write my novel. Thanks for your expertise. You are a blessing to us.


  2. Excellent, meaty post, as usual. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I think it's cool that you write both fiction and nf. So versatile.

    But can you yodel?




What are your thoughts?