How to actually start a fic

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  1. #1
    Face of mercy? NOPE Yato's Avatar
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    Default How to actually start a fic

    I've heard of a saying that goes "The first step is always the hardest", but I'm trying to put together a story - I'm wondering how I should make a catchy start.

    What would be a good way to start a fic? Describe the surroundings? Go straight with a conversation?

    What do you suggest??

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    Reality is a dream TheLlama's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to actually start a fic

    What type of story is it - that's what you have to consider. The start have to set the mood. Is it a lengthy, slow-paced one? If so, lots of scenic descriptions are in their place. Is there going to be emotional conflicts within the main character, or between several characters? Try and set a light tone for that. Nothing major, just hint at it. Is it the start of a journey-style story? Or is something dramatic going to happen very early on? Then portray the peacefulness, the calm before the storm.

    And so on. I can give you more specific advice and examples of you can relate what kind of story it is, what it's going to be about, and, possible, where it will end. What are the thematic contnets? WHo are the characters? All this must be considered; the beginning must, in oft subtle ways, reflect what the story plans to become! ;)

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    Face of mercy? NOPE Yato's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to actually start a fic

    Quote Originally Posted by Llama_Guy View Post
    What type of story is it - that's what you have to consider. The start have to set the mood. Is it a lengthy, slow-paced one? If so, lots of scenic descriptions are in their place. Is there going to be emotional conflicts within the main character, or between several characters? Try and set a light tone for that. Nothing major, just hint at it. Is it the start of a journey-style story? Or is something dramatic going to happen very early on? Then portray the peacefulness, the calm before the storm.
    I'm planning to make in omnibus - omniverse? How do you even spell that... -.- Anyways, I'm planning to have around 8 main characters, and each episode focuses around one of them. However, the entire story is connected in one. Maybe it could be a little lengthy. And, yes there are bits of emotional conflicts. It's not really a journey story, but I'd like to set up some tension that would later explode into a huge unexpected turn of events for the surprise later in the story around the end :D

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    Default Re: How to actually start a fic

    Quote Originally Posted by Destiny Queen View Post
    I'm planning to make in omnibus - omniverse? How do you even spell that... -.- Anyways, I'm planning to have around 8 main characters, and each episode focuses around one of them. However, the entire story is connected in one. Maybe it could be a little lengthy. And, yes there are bits of emotional conflicts. It's not really a journey story, but I'd like to set up some tension that would later explode into a huge unexpected turn of events for the surprise later in the story around the end :D
    Well the story sounds great, that's for sure, but back to the subject.

    In my opinion it's better to start by describing the surroundings and/or character, that way you give the reader an idea of what's going on in the background. Unless you want some shock value in which case you should just write whatever feels most appropriate.

    Good luck. :)

    COMING SOON!

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    Default Re: How to actually start a fic

    Really, it all depends on your style. The beginning is always the hardest, but unless your beginning matches the style of the rest of your writing, then it won't end up as well as it could.

    Do you favor lots of dialogue, or lots of description? Short or long sentences? Tailor your beginning to fit your style of writing. Personally, I prefer to jump right into the world you're building and only provide enough immediate exposition so that the reader understands what's going on. But you might favor starting out with a "creation tale," of sorts, explaining how the multiverse you're building came to be. Then, in your second chapter (or first, if you want to make the creation story a prologue), you can just start with one of your main characters and go from there.

    Hope this helped.
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    Unova's #1 Yancy fan Seizon Senryaku's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to actually start a fic

    I think it's more intuitive than anything else. Think about the events that happen in the early part of your story, and decide where everything begins. What's the first event that can't be missed? Don't waste time building up chapters and chapters of unrelated minutiae before your story even starts. By the same token, starting right in the middle of things and charging ahead without explanation can be foolish too. Much like most other things about writing, finding where to begin is a question of balance.

    As for how to begin, it all depends on what kind of effect you wish to achieve. I just wrote the prologue to a new fic; it didn't contain any dialogue at all, despite being a situation where one might expect people to be talking. The result is a slightly surreal effect that catches people's attention. Other beginnings start with dialogue, or a question (whether posed by a character or the narrator). Rhetorical questions are great hooks for pulling readers in: 'What on earth possessed me to steal that kid's Pokemon?' / 'What is the meaning of life?'. :p

    If you're using a first-person narrator, a good technique for starting is to have them introduce themselves to the reader or offer some dry commentary on the events, depending of course on how dodgy you want the fourth wall to be. Example:

    Quote Originally Posted by Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth, page 1
    The last thing I wanted to do on my summer break was blow up another school. But there I was Monday morning, the first week of June, sitting in my mom's car in front of Goode High School on East 81st.
    That's the entire first paragraph. It establishes the semi-casual tone that the narrator uses throughout the whole book, and at the same time it makes you wonder how the hell Percy managed to blow up a school - not to mention what he means by 'another school'.

    In a nutshell, start your story how you intend to continue. Your beginning sets the mood and tone, sets up your reader's expectations and promises them more. Whether you do this in the form of a prologue that takes place fifty miles or five hundred years away from the main story, or if you simply jump right into things, the important thing is that it fits seamlessly with where you plan to go. Some beginnings even go so far as to drop heavy hints as to where they're actually going, though this is a matter of personal choice. Go with what feels right to you, because no two stories will ever be exactly the same, and as a result, each will require a different kind of beginning.
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    Reality is a dream TheLlama's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to actually start a fic

    Hmm, there is one tip I generally follow when writing: Put your story into a universe, don't put a universe into your story. Imagine that what you're writing is in a world that has existed before the story, and will (most likely) continue afterwards. Meaning you are only writing a part of it all. Meaning that you don't have to begin at the start - what is the characters' start, that is. Maybe it jumps right in, and you see tension, you see something happening, but you do not know why. Then let us all in on what is going on through later flashbacks, parallel stories and stuff like that. The in medias res type of beginning, that is. Not suited for everything, but it might be interesting. Starting with a fight between two characters, for example. Setting the tone through that, then giving the basis for the conflict through later flashbacks.

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    Default Re: How to actually start a fic

    it all depends on writing style; sarcastic, tragic, funny, horrifying, gory, sad, blunt, etc. there's many different ways you can start a story.

    "once upon a time" is definitely not a thing you'd want to go for when starting any story, lol. leave that to the old myths and fantasies of the middle ages. still, it's vital that you catch the reader's attention. i generally like to make my leads witty and sarcastic, but catchy at the same time. a good lead is anything that drags you into the story and wants to make you read more; a good strategy to do this is dropping yourself right into the action. what's going on? what is the main character doing at this time? say something mysterious that people have to read on to figure out what it means.

    for me, leads are actually the most enjoyable thing for me to do. i like seeing all the different leads people come up with, and i love writing my own.

  9. #9
    Wordsmith unrepentantAuthor's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to actually start a fic

    Opening scenes - and worse, opening sentences - are notorious for ruining the days of aspiring authors. There are a few billion opening scenes in existence, and sometimes it feels like all the good first lines have been taken. It's tempting to get bogged down worrying about it for a very long time, but doing that soles nothing.

    My advice - and this is not meant facetiously - is to stop caring. Really. I find that writing a first chapter is much easier if you lower your standards and hammer out a rough introduction to the story that will get readers to understand the premise at the most basic level. It's the only essential goal, to be done before anything else. After you've done that and have got into the flow, it's possible to go back and decide what works and what needs improving. But, you at least have something to work with, ather than writers' block.

    What should it actually entail, though? The obvious things for the average story are a character outline, a setting, a premise, maybe some authorial muscle-flexing in whatever form - imaginative action, witty dialogue, stuning description - and a hook. A hook will pull readers back by interesting them in the developing plot. More advanced writers who plan in advance may want to include thematic links to whatever ideas the story intends to explore.

    Even that doesn't actually explain how to really begin, though. Wha should the first scene BE? Okay: for goodness' sake, don't touch the cliches. No waking up in the morning, no choosing a pokémon from Oak, no meeting an injured mew. Try something unusual, something gripping, something ineresting. Hopefully with some obvious plot-drivers/goals/obstacles. If inspiration fails to strike, just launch straight into the story with a scene wherein the protagonist is demonstrating their personality and the story's content by dealing with a challenge - whether they overcome it or not. For a journey fic, perhaps it is the hero narrowly losing in a gym and training to win, encountering the antagonist for the first time, or suffering the first real conflict between their companions. just remember that all fiction is motivated by conflict, be it social, personal, or circumstantial.

    I do hope that made some sort of logical sense. May it be of use.
    Last edited by unrepentantAuthor; 17th April 2012 at 06:00 AM. Reason: Correcting typos

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