Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Wake Up!

Jeff's problems may have been deeper than simple exhaustion.

The biggest problem with an opening is all the pressure that is on it from the start. You have to introduce the reader to a compelling character (not necessarily the MC, but still compelling), ground the reader in the setting, and entice them to read on. That's a lot to cover in a short period of time.

A waking character may actually be the best way to start things, but keeping in mind the checklist of items we have to cover to create a story that people will want to continue reading, it OFTEN (not always, just mostly) isn't the best way. No one is at their best when they wake up. They may not be at their worst, but usually they're groggily grasping for a reality while trying to figure out how, if not why, a non-existent cat coughed a hairball into their mouth. Waking up also suggests that this is just another day in the life of that character. Unless the world is already well-established, and the character is well-liked, it's unlikely anyone wants to stick around while Rob has his morning Monster energy drink (because he hates coffee) brushes his face, shaved his teeth, and whatnot. If you handwave past that, because it's not important, than why didn't you handwave past the waking up too? If something exciting is happening upon waking, then it's more likely you could have just slipped ahead to that, rather than going through the effort of creating a realistic, albeit boring, wake-up scene.

A "rude awakening" might work, but you have to couch it carefully, otherwise it becomes exactly what it is: an attempt to create tension and conflict when it doesn't actually exit in a world readers don't know with characters that aren't fully-formed yet.

So, yeah, a "wake up" scene isn't necessarily the worst thing that you can write, and if you can write it well and meet all the opening criteria, then go for it. The writing will stand for itself, and any decent editor/agent will see that. You do run the chance the an editor/agent even slightly off their game will read the first few lines and send you your rejection notice.

No comments:

Post a Comment