Tuesday, March 2, 2010
In Which I Set A Hook
So since I have to cut my prologue in Foxfire, that means I have to start my story elsewhere.
And though it seems like it should be an easy decision (just remove the prologue and start at chapter one) it really isn't.
One of the most important things you can do to give your novel a starting chance, is to give it a great opening. After all, when an agent is looking at your manuscript you want him/her to get as far into your story as possible. You don't want them to read the first paragraph or page and then set it aside.
So a strong opening will strengthen your chances.
The best way to craft a strong opening is to start with a hook, and an inciting incident. The hook is something that catches your reader's eye. Something like "Fred thought things were going great until the monkeys attacked," or whatever. I'd keep reading after that, because, I mean, monkey attack!
The inciting incident is the moment where your character starts on the path to change. What is it that happens to your MC (or, better yet as we discussed in my posts about passivity, what is it your MC does) that starts that change?
Hopefully this will also set in motion a surface problem. A surface problem is just what it sounds like, a problem on the surface of the story. Typically these are solved but then another one arises, etc.
So for Foxfire I'm struggling a bit with wondering how I want to handle my inciting incident. There's two places I could start it and I originally thought it would be when Fox has an accident and injures himself. I still think this would be a great place to jump into the story. But the issue I have with that is that I would lose a big big chunk of Fox's story before that and I would like to build him up a bit before I stick him with the first disaster.
So it's looking more and more likely that the inciting incident will have to go earlier (coincidentally, in a chapter one scene) and I'll have to rewrite that chapter to start with the hook and bring about the inciting incident.
I'm really excited to dig into this part of my revision. It seems to me it will be like playing with clay, and I get to smash it all around before the clay comes out looking like a horse head (that's pretty much the extent of my ability to shape clay...)
So what's your inciting incident? And does it happen early enough in your story?