Get your reader to care about your protagonist right from the beginning.
A beginning does three things:
- Gets the story going and shows what kind of story it’s going to be.
- Introduces and characterizes the protagonist.
- Engages the reader’s interest.
In my opinion, this opening has never been equaled, at least for a children’s story:
- “Where’s Papa going with that ax?” said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.
- “Out to the hoghouse,” replied Mrs. Arable. “Some pigs were born last night.”
- “I don’t see why he needs an ax,” continued Fern, who was only eight.
- “Well,” said her mother, “one of the pigs is a runt. It’s very small and weak and it will never amount to anything. So your father has decided to do away with it.”
- “Do away with it?” shrieked Fern. “You mean kill it? Just because it’s smaller than the others?” (Charlotte’s Web, E. B. White)
For a helpful and interesting look at openings, see Kristen Lamb’s Blog http://wp.me/py7Aw-1oy
Today we are going to tackle a highly confusing subject for many writers—In medias res. In medias res quite literally means in the middle of things. This is a literary tactic that has been used since the days of Odysseus. It is a tactic that forces the writer forward, to begin the story near the heart of the problem.
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