The Where and When

We’ve talked quite a bit about story starters and how to begin stories. Let’s take a look at the where or when to start. Don’t we writers just love to give background and setting as we see it in our mind’s eye? After all, the reader should know what is going on, and not feel that we’ve plopped her/him into the middle of nowhere. If I begin to read a book that doesn’t explain the basics in the first page I usually toss it aside. But we can get carried away to where the reader will wonder “what’s the point here?” and toss it aside for that reason.

Writers are often instructed to begin with the change in the protagonist’s life, where things start to happen. We need to know when this is, and make our story start at that place. I often have to junk the first part of my story which didn’t go anywhere, to find the right start. Then, writing “tight” I give enough background and setting to make sense to the reader, and get into the action quickly. Marilyn gave us some great pointers on how to do this in her blog, and her examples were right on the mark.

So watch the “where” and “when” of your story starters, to go along with your “who, what and why?” We’ll keep those pages of our stories being turned, and keep the readers’ interest on high!

-Contributed by Shirley Shibley


2 responses to “The Where and When

  1. Shirley, how cleverly you wrapped the package of who, what, when, and where. Thank you for reminding us of what we sometimes forget. When I was a kid, it was the where and when of my new Christmas book each year that anchored me squarely under the tree, to read.

  2. Great reminders! I often have to junk the beginning of my stories as well. In my opinion, the beginning is one of the toughest challenges and will be the reason someone keeps reading or closes it with a slam! Thanks for a good post (o:

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