Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Beginnings

I have been slowly picking away at the first edit of my novel. (Editing is such a daunting task.)  Today, I was working on the first chapter.  (No pressure!  First chapter!)  Setting the stage is so important for a story.  It's like the thesis of an essay.  What you say in the beginning dictates what the rest of the novel is going to be about.  Lots of times, it points to the path that your protagonist is going to have to conquer in the story.

You see, story is a lot like this diagram (very crudely drawn with Microsoft Paint) that my professor always drew in class or in crayon on the back of my manuscripts:
The black line is the trajectory of a character's life.  The yellow line is impact from an outside source.  The impact causes the trajectory of the character's life to change to some degree, however big or small.  In order to tell a story, you must first explain what the original trajectory of a character's life would have been.  Otherwise, the reader cannot understand the magnitude/importance/degree to which the character's life was shifted.  Story is explaining the "before", showing the outside source impacting the life, and showing the results/affects the consequently occur.

Thus my predicament with my first chapter.  It is so crucial to the rest of the story.  No pressure!