Story Structure: How the Opening Scene Works in a Novel – by Janice Hardy…

on Fiction University:

The opening scene is the preview for your entire novel.

I find opening scenes both easy and hard to write. Once I’m ready to write them they’re easy, but it might take me a month or more to figure out the right opening line. And I can’t write the novel until I have the right opening line and scene. I need to start off from the right point or I tend to wander into the weeds.

Other writers don’t have this issue, and write whatever comes to them, knowing they’re going to revise it later. They don’t know what the right opening scene is until they write the final scene.

Both (and everything in between), are perfectly acceptable ways to write opening scenes.

Which is good, because opening scenes need to do a lot. They need to introduce the protagonist, the setting, the hook, the problem, show conflict, create voice, craft intriguing story questions, ground readers, make readers like your characters, and the list goes on and on.

An opening scene is a taste of what’s to come in the novel, a preview of the amazing and wonderful story you’re about to share with readers. It’s a promise you make that they’re not wasting their time by trusting you. But mostly…

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