on Fiction University:
If readers get lost in your first scene, they’ll never get to the second.
The opening scene of my novel, The Shifter, features a girl getting caught stealing eggs out from under a sleeping chicken. It’s a fun scene, I enjoyed writing it, and most of all—it helped sell the novel.
Somewhere along the lines, my critique partners and I started referring to strong opening scenes as “chicken scenes.”
“I’m still working on my chicken scene.”
“I thought of the perfect chicken scene yesterday.”
“I can’t get this book written until I find my chicken scene.”
It’s weird how these things develop, but it’s been useful shorthand to describe the goal of an opening scene. It works because it does what a good opening scene needs to do.
Get readers on board with the story in a positive way.
Here’s how to ground your readers in your opening scene and make them want to keep reading.
Oh, and you don’t have to follow these in this order, I just like the way this flows from a scene-building standpoint. Mix it up as needed: