I recently read an article titled 10 worst story openings that sparked the flame of annoyance for me. To sum it up, the advice was “don’t start your story with something boring, but don’t start it with something interesting either.” The foundation for this advice was the belief that both of these were dead giveaways that you’re an amateur. As if that was a bad thing to be.
Side note: it’s not bad to be an amateur. Everyone has to start somewhere, and everyone started as an amateur. It is brave. So, be brave. Be an amateur and wear that badge proudly.
Here’s what I think about that advice
First, it was contradictory. Of course, I oversimplified it, but essentially that’s how it read for me.
Second, if we all wrote the way these lists tell us to, every book would be the same and you wouldn’t need to read more than one since you’d know how every other one was going to end, and then all the authors could just curl into themselves and burn out like dying stars.
The product of our writing, like any art form, is subjective. Everyone will have a different opinion about what it should be, and they’ll like whatever they like for whatever reason that is personal to them. You can’t control that, nor should you try to.
Now that I’ve told you to ignore advice, I’m going to leave you with my two cents for what I’ve found helpful. Take it or leave it:
- Start your story exactly where it starts. Continue writing until it’s finished.
- Don’t second guess yourself. You know your story best.
- Write for yourself, not for anyone else.
When it comes to having beta readers and editors looking at your work, you need to know what it is you are trying to convey, and make sure your work reflects that.
Pull the things you find helpful from these people who are offering suggestions, but don’t for one second think they know what’s best. You decide what goes and what stays. It is YOUR story.
Okay, that is my rant for today.