“beginnings” in Write Away by Elizabeth George

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 15, 2007

·   Open up the story by asking dramatic questions (but do not answer)  ·   primary event – that which gets the ball roiling in the novel  ·   begin at the beginning, before the beginning, after the beginning (permits non-linear narrative … back stories)  ·   starting just before the beginning – must have a scene that illustrates the status quo of the main characters before the primary event occurs  ·   start before the beginning by illustrating the character’s emotional status quo; good chance of hooking the reader  ·   start at the beginning by introducing simultaneously both the characters and the primary event … “The bodies were discovered by …” the reader is thrust immediately into the story and the characters  ·   start after the beginning, after the primary event has occurred  ·   In A Great Deliverance, the novel starts with a priest on a train, going to London, reacting to some important (but not revealed) event that we will later learn was the primary event of the story  ·   Opening scene either possesses or promises excitement, intrigue, conflict, foreshadows problems; establishes atmosphere, place, some characters (not necessarily the main characters)  ·   must hook the reader (first task is to keep the reader reading): Follett – Key to Rebecca – opening scene introduces but does not identify character, shows aspects of the character’s behavior that are intriguing, mysterious  ·   opening – establish place by specific memorable details – atmosphere, mood, tone  ·   opening – illuminate theme or plot or place  ·   opening – illustrate agendas of characters 


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