on Fiction University:
How to tell the difference between good setup, and bad setup, in your novel.
I’ve always written fantasy and science fiction, so I learned right away how perilous setup is to a novel. I wrote dozens of terrible beginnings and first acts that were barely more than a dramatized version of my notes. Characters gave lectures, they didn’t have conversations. And I’d stick my authorial nose into the story to explain the things my characters didn’t know.
I even wrote the dreaded, history-ladened “fantasy world building prologue” a time or two. [shudders]
On the bright side, facing this extra challenge early on helped me figure out how show, don’t tell and point of view worked, which made writing in general a lot easier. It also taught me a very good lesson I still use today.