Re: A small suggestion for writers- From the reader part of me

#41

FantasyBliss30 Wrote:
AngrySeme Wrote:
FantasyBliss30 Wrote: I feel there are wayyyyyyy too many fictions here and not enough time for me to read them. Some of them are really great and ALL of them are products of hard work. And yet, I am frustrated about one thing. And I apologize if someone feels personally attacked. This is not directed at someone or some people in particular at all. AND, mind you, neither does this not apply to all, but I see that it does apply to most. 

The fact that most writers start their stories expecting me to be invested in your characters right from the get go. I mean why? Why should I have to read an entire chapter 1 or prologue of 2000 words of pure angst from a character that I literally could not care less about. Introduce that person to me. Tell me who they are, how they act; so that I can judge for myself if I am ready to care about their angst or not. 

Also, 'I' or 'He' woke up and felt pain and started bleeding and their world is in a turmoil and blah blah blah and that shouts crying for attention and desperate without telling me the reason why I should pay you any attention. That is where I stop reading, and I feel bad since I am sure they go on to become a great story. 

I apologize if someone feels personally attacked. I am sure I am no better. But I just made a broad post since I see many writers doing the exact same thing. I just hope this helps them evolve and grow into something even better.
peoeyesparkle peoapproval



I would like to apologize for being guilty of this.
I'm improving I swear.



Funny because I posted this thread even before I saw your story. And then I read it and I was like this is interesting. I even left it in your comments. But, it is okay. This is extremely common, I have seen lol.



I didn't change the 1st chapter where I'm guilty of this BUT I DID fix the story's first few chapters so it would make more sense! :) 
IDEK what to change the 1st chapter with.. ugh....
what should we do to fix the angsty beginning?

Re: A small suggestion for writers- From the reader part of me

#42
Hmm... I don't know.

The beginning that I get the most praise for is Mossharbor, and that one is definitely action first. The MC gets a message that her world is ending, grabs her cat and some gear, plows her car into her neighbor's fence, and then proceeds to steal his boat after he threatens her with a gun.

The beginning that I get the second most praise for is Silverglade. That starts with the MC standing in her doorway, dressed for work, having an anxiety attack, and heading back to bed. Then ignoring the call from her boss and listening to the voice mail where he fires her. Then making a burrito in the microwave and only eating half of it.

She was a complete sad sack and people loved her.

I think it's easier to write an angsty beginning that hooks people than an action-y beginning.

gwunders Wrote: If a stranger comes up to you and says they had a bad day what's your response?


...uh okay?


How people react in the real world to something and how someone reacts to reading about it are very different.

Opening a book and reading about a body lying in the gutter is fascinating. Going outside and finding one in the gutter is traumatic.

Re: A small suggestion for writers- From the reader part of me

#43

SJ Wrote: Opening a book and reading about a body lying in the gutter is fascinating.



From what i understand from this thread and all the examples shared, I would read that story if the opening said "A body was found in the gutter and it was fascinating/and it wasn't my fault."

But it said A body was found in the gutter and it was horrible or disgusting or brutal, I will be like ...okay, and?
peolaughing

Re: A small suggestion for writers- From the reader part of me

#44
FantasyBliss30 Wrote:
NovelNinja Wrote: I'm a big believer in an editor knowing how to tell stories

If editors are the ones making the movies, I am very sure they will make awesome writers too!

Trust me, being a good editor doesn't mean being a good writer. I just think that being a good writer makes one a better editor.

FantasyBliss30 Wrote: However, I want to add one thing. There is one more thing that impresses me very much when I start a story and that is the sense of discovery. That, I, as a reader discovered something unique or sort of like solved a mystery when I read that first line or first para, that other readers may not have. E.g. Harry Potter first book first link: Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. Now, I as a reader realize that it is a 'doth protest too much' situation and there is definitely something wrong with them. That gives me a sense of discovery which gives me joy.

That's a good point to make, but not in the way you're currently thinking. To demonstrate it, look at the opening line to The Hobbit:

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

You might have the same sense of discovery here from figuring out that if we are told that hobbits live in hobbit-holes, which are synonymous with comfort, then this hobbit who is used to comfort is about to get very, very uncomfortable indeed.

What you are looking at in both places is a promise; your sense of satisfaction is derived from knowing that this promise has been made and you're looking forward to it. If the promise is not kept, you would remember that "sense of discovery" in a very different way: betrayal.

This is why promises in openers are difficult to carry off. You have to know what you're promising, how the reader will perceive it, and how to deliver on that promise. It's easy to make promises; it's difficult to make a promise you can keep in the very first moments of a story.

In the case of the first Harry Potter novel, the promise overlaps with a sense of curiosity and a question. We want to see what this means for a book we already know is about fantastic and abnormal things (do note that the line is very bland if you don't already know that the book is contemporary fantasy, but it's also a safe assumption for Rowling to have made), and we ask one or both of two questions: Why are the Dusleys even in this book, and why are they so insistent on being normal?

We also get a character (two, really) and a location. Even the location smacks of ordinariness, if you know what privet shrubs are and why they're used. You could make a serious argument for all six elements, if you go with the idea that the Dursleys' stubborn normalcy and stagnant lives is a motif by way of contrast, used to showcase the themes of wonder and growth throughout the series. Not everyone agrees on negative motifs, but even with only five it's an excellent line and a wonderful use of word-economy.

FantasyBliss30 Wrote: Thank you so much. This is not easy to share, as I don't want to tell someone that their angst disgusts me. But, our society in general is very conservative. We love the pretense of happiness. Our psyches are trained to be uncomfortable with someone's troubles. And our lives nowadays are too fast-pace. It does make sense that I may not be emotionally available as a reader for the character's angst right at the start.

Please allow me a correction here. This reaction has nothing to do with society, and everything to do with our biology. Whether you believe we are designed by God, gods, or evolution, we are the same creatures that once discovered fire. The world, for most of history, has been a savage and barbaric place. We simply could not afford to sacrifice survival instincts in order to feel empathy for people who were outside our tribe. Bad things happen to everyone. I, Caveman Og, may agree that it is a tragedy that your brother Grunt was trampled by a mammoth; but I never knew Grunt, and I only just met you, and so we don't have an emotional connection.

This is why so much depends on forging that connection in stories. We need to know why we are supposed to care. The only difference between us and the first human to discover that cooked food tastes better is that we have accumulated thousands upon thousands of years of knowledge. Our instincts are still the same. Our society doesn't train that out of us; if anything, a society should be judged based on how much empathy it trains in to its people. The more a society tries to divide others, the harder it is to feel empathy for The Other.

Throughout history, art in its various forms (including writing and storytelling) has been the number one force driving people to care about strangers. If you want me to feel sympathy for Caveman Grunt who was trampled by a mammoth, then you must first give me some hook into wanting to hear his tale. Telling me that Caveman Grunt was once a real person is okay, but it doesn't give a lot of emotional connection. Describing the scene as it happens can help more. Connecting it to a theme is stronger. Making me curious about something is better. Getting me to care about a question and expect a promise to be fulfilled will keep me interested even though I would really like to go make a new flint spearhead instead.

Today, we have much more refined techniques for storytelling, but they're all still variations on what ancient homo sapiens would say to each other, huddled around a campfire, scared of the darkness and wanting to believe in something more. Various other things have been tried to help care about strangers, the most successful being the Greek virtue of guest-right (and its equivalents in contemporary pagan religions) and the Christian admonition to love your enemies. Ultimately, though, it's always been the storyteller who has succeeded the most. You can talk about the rules of hospitality all you like, but reciting the rules is nothing compared to telling the story of how Grendel would enter the mead-hall and terrorize its inhabitants, violating guest-right because he believed himself beyond such concerns, and how Beowulf defended his host by killing the intruder.

So pay less attention to the societies and groups that say we shouldn't care about others, and more to the societies and groups who say that entertainment should be silenced, controlled, massaged, or in any way limited. If you've ever read Plato's Republic, then you've seen an argument for that very idea. It argued that a "perfect" society could not have poetry, because poetry makes people feel emotion. We as a species can't connect to most people outside our immediate lives without an external reason, and art is the most powerful tool in building a society.

FantasyBliss30 Wrote: This is something that I too struggle with. I am a visual person. I visualize all these set-pieces and jump into describing them. But, they are usually disjointed and incomplete and when I read them back as a reader later, it just doesn't come together most times. Like you suggested, I am focusing on rounding up and giving a better picture, but doing it naturally, and not force-feed descriptions to my readers. 

[snip]

You won't believe this but I actually drove myself crazy doing just this when I first started with my chapters. But now, I have decided to take it easy, not overdo it. I have decided to write a chapter, give it one good edit, post, wait for 15-20 new chapters, then go back and re-edit that first chapter to see if I can make the words more accurate and efficient.


Both these are connected. You're on the right track. The inexperienced author will write everything down. The intermediate author will carefully choose words the first time. The experienced author will write whatever words fit, then go back and do a second draft with better words. Don't get hung up on first drafts, and don't be afraid of second drafts. A true second draft isn't just an edit; you're retelling things because now you can focus on being entertaining.

Re: A small suggestion for writers- From the reader part of me

#45

NovelNinja Wrote: Trust me, being a good editor doesn't mean being a good writer. I just think that being a good writer makes one a better editor.



I will take your word on this. XD

NovelNinja Wrote: You might have the same sense of discovery here from figuring out that if we are told that hobbits live in hobbit-holes, which are synonymous with comfort, then this hobbit who is used to comfort is about to get very, very uncomfortable indeed.

What you are looking at in both places is a promise; your sense of satisfaction is derived from knowing that this promise has been made and you're looking forward to it. If the promise is not kept, you would remember that "sense of discovery" in a very different way: betrayal.



Oh wow! That actually makes sense! Sense of discovery can be textual or sub-textual but they both offer me the promise!
peoapproval
NovelNinja Wrote: Please allow me a correction here. This reaction has nothing to do with society, and everything to do with our biology.



I will have slightly deviate on this. XD I understand that our biology is affected by external environment, may be over years or over millions of years yes, but they are. Who knows how the external environment has affected our empathy over generations? However, when I said society I meant the group of human beings or us as humans inherently which is like you pointed out our biological nature, survival instinct.


NovelNinja Wrote: The experienced author will write whatever words fit, then go back and do a second draft with better words. Don't get hung up on first drafts, and don't be afraid of second drafts. A true second draft isn't just an edit; you're retelling things because now you can focus on being entertaining.



Great Tip!! Thank you so much!!
peolove

Re: A small suggestion for writers- From the reader part of me

#46

Box-Fox Wrote: For me one of the biggest things that made me care about a story was having the protagonist express an opinion really early on.

This to me, adds a colour to the story that sets a tone for the character for the foreseeable future. I've found that this can be a little polarizing on the writing side, being a little antsy about a character that might rub a reader the wrong way early on, or coming on to strongly in pushing a persona. In my own opinion, a character that can disagree with me is far more interesting than an already painted wall I'm kind of expected to care about. Having a complete thought out character is one thing, but trying to include the whole picture in the introduction is asking for a lot (angst upon angst, lore upon lore). I agree with the suddenness of being just thrown into a situation doesn't leave a lot of room to actually have a protagonist have their own ticks. Adding variety and different perspectives and little reactions through word choice is what, as a reader ends up pulling me in. And hints of previous situations do wonders for characters when taken sparingly. If you look at the fictions on best rated, it's along the lines of what they do.

MoL introduces Zorian through his interactions with his sister, which is a rather expressive relationship. 
Beware of Chicken has a similar style in that Jin is introduced through a scene that lets him showcase his opinions on cultivation and adds another contrasting perspective in the sect manager. 
Chrysalis, where Anthony is introduced through a usually jarring conversation with the local Gandalf. These are some of the best examples I could find of characters that drew me in. 

I could go on and mention Born of Caution as well, there are some really interesting devices for introducing characters outside of internal monologues, explaining current actions, or having some startling external event drive readers into turning pages.

Not a writer, but the point behind this really resonates with me. You might not like the examples given, but nothing is universally liked by everyone. And by stating an opinion early on, it gives a better sense of who the MC is and whether I care about them or not. Sure, it might turn some people off. But that is fine and better set that expectation early on then make a reader feel betrayed halfway through and many chapters later.


And if the opinion resonates. Whether you agree with the opinion or just think 'hey, that MC is quite an interesting guy/girl', it makes you think of them as a real person and engage with them. Rather than hoping someone sticks around for 20 or more chapters to figure out if they are interesting in the MC and want to continue reading; or worse, they read several chapters and only later find they absolutely detest and/or are bored of the character, don't want to continue reading and leave a bad review for leading them on for so long before revealing this horrible fact.

NovelNinja - You have written several (and one very long) very interesting views on writing that I also think very highly of. I don't want to quote them all as then this post would be even longer and more disjointed than it already is. Thanks for sharing your thoughts in this forum. I believe they are also very helpful to current and future writers. Very much appreciated.

Re: A small suggestion for writers- From the reader part of me

#48

msng Wrote: by stating an opinion early on, it gives a better sense of who the MC is and whether I care about them or not.



Extremely fair and I like opinionated people too. But, I may have read wayyyyy too many of those stories. Because, what I like or I have noticed I gravitate towards is MCs who are not sooo opinionated, just a normal everyday person, doing his job in life whatever, no agenda nothing and then things happen to them. Things that drive them to extreme, that drive their character arc. Because I believe there is a hero in everyone or a villain in some people too, if that is the arc the author is going for. Their I feel lies the brilliance of the author (think Breaking Bad). The character arc. 

It is easy I feel to create an MC who already has powers blah blah blah and agenda and what not. But what about you take an ordinary person and transform them to something extraordinary. I am not saying they cannot have opinions early on but if it is too extreme and full of unearned angst, it limits the character for me early in the novel.

Edit: Also to add to this, they can have extreme opinions too, but the interesting thing to me would be that the character arc is about subverting their opinions and changing them as a person. I would read that too.

Re: A small suggestion for writers- From the reader part of me

#49
Opinions can be good, or they can be bad. It's about the strength of the hook. 

Here. I had an idea for a VR litRPG about six years before I ever heard the term "litRPG." I wrote down the opening line because I liked it. 

It may sound strange, but sneaking into a heavily-guarded orc fortress to rescue an Imperial spy is what I do for fun.

Breaking that down, it's: It may sound strange, but sneaking into a heavily-guarded orc (fantasy-element motif) fortress (location) to rescue an Imperial spy (promise) is what I (character) do for fun (question: Why is that fun?). Now, scoring my own stuff against my own concept is kind of cheating, but you see where I'm going with that. I'm trying to load as many hooks as I can. 

Since I didn't know anyone else was writing this kind of story (and neither did my then-guildmates on WoW), the first chapter was supposed to be a few pages of a female ranger doing sneaky ranger things, then getting a chat request and you realize it's in VR. Then when she leaves VR at the end of the chapter, you realize that the hyper-athletic character is played by a former gymnast, now severely handicapped and dependent on a wheelchair. Playing the game is the only way she'll run again. 

I didn't have a decent plot, though. Didn't get one until last year, but I didn't have time to write much. By then, though, I knew about the litRPG genre, and knew that the idea of playing a VR game wouldn't be especially interesting. Anyone who read the potential book's description would know it's a VR story, but at the time I'd thought it up I hadn't even discovered Ready Player One yet. I'm not certain it was published. (*checks* Okay, it was a year after the book was published.) There's a kind of fun in the reveal you know is coming, though, and since litRPGs are now much more common that wouldn't do for an introduction. 

So the version I started last year begins with the character's first day using a VR device. I changed it from a home-use device to a VR cafe, gave her a brother who introduced her to it rather than a classmate, and made her a former ballet prodigy instead (my wife's suggestion). The new opening line is:

My life as I knew it had ended two months ago. The rest of my life began in a parking lot full of potholes, trying not to let on how much my brother's driving sucked.

The breakdown for that is My (character) life as I knew it (curiosity, question) had ended two months ago. The rest of my life (promise) began in a parking lot full of potholes, trying not to let on how much my brother's driving sucked (scene). Again, it's a little presumptuous to score myself, but this was my aim. 

It contains an opinion (on her brother's driving) and doesn't give a theme or motif, and frankly the scene element is weak. But the object was mostly to show a bit of the character by displaying emotion, in this case a bit of snark and complaint. This is a character who's suffered a great loss. That has to be hinted at without going into too much detail. 

This being a potential web novel, the blurb is effectively part of the beginning. It has to lead into that opening line, because it's the thing that is supposed to get a reader to click Next Chapter. Even if the reader saved it for later, that blurb will be the first thing seen when the story is loaded. So, even though the blurb is normally the last thing written in trad pub, I wrote it as part of crafting that first line. 

Elizabeth Tran lived and breathed ballet . . . until a tragic car accident shattered her dreams. Living in constant pain and dependent on a wheelchair, she accepts her brother's invitation to try out one of the VR games he loves so much.

She soon discovers that the immersion rig allows her to feel like she can move again without pain; but to dance like she used to, she'll have to level up. That means playing an MMO for the first time -- and, unfortunately, the best character type for her goal is the most useless in the game.

You don't become a ballet star by giving up, and a little thing like character optimization isn't going to hold Elizabeth back. But
Arcane Era is a living game, where player actions can permanently affect the fate of entire factions, and her choices are going to have widespread consequences. Elizabeth may have lost her dreams, but Arcane Era will give her a future she never expected.

That bit about her future leads into the first line, about how her life as she'd known it ended.

Whether it will work with this audience remains to be seen. I'm experimenting. I can investigate web novels only so much by just observing. :) The point here is to show how my thought process regarding opening hooks might translate to web novels.

Re: A small suggestion for writers- From the reader part of me

#50

NovelNinja Wrote: ...

I liked the first blurb more; the second was confusing. "Parking lot full of plotholes"? What is that supposed to mean? Is it a metaphor? The plotholes make it sound like the parking lot isn't a literal, physical place. "...trying not to let on how much my brother's driving sucked." What has that got to do with anything? Total non-sequitur, feels random and inconsequential. Also kinda run-on, the first blurb is more condensed and clear. 

I don't thing it's bad by any means, just explaining why I thought the first one was better. The second one was more confusing and clunky. I had to reread it to understand what it meant to say. 

Also, extra comment, a "My life ended 2 months ago" reads as a clear "oh! It's an isekai novel!" flag. (which isn't the case). 

Edit: OH, it said "potholes", not "plotholes". That makes way more sense

Re: A small suggestion for writers- From the reader part of me

#51

FantasyBliss30 Wrote: I feel there are wayyyyyyy too many fictions here and not enough time for me to read them. Some of them are really great and ALL of them are products of hard work. And yet, I am frustrated about one thing. And I apologize if someone feels personally attacked. This is not directed at someone or some people in particular at all. AND, mind you, neither does this not apply to all, but I see that it does apply to most. 

The fact that most writers start their stories expecting me to be invested in your characters right from the get go. I mean why? Why should I have to read an entire chapter 1 or prologue of 2000 words of pure angst from a character that I literally could not care less about. Introduce that person to me. Tell me who they are, how they act; so that I can judge for myself if I am ready to care about their angst or not. 

Also, 'I' or 'He' woke up and felt pain and started bleeding and their world is in a turmoil and blah blah blah and that shouts crying for attention and desperate without telling me the reason why I should pay you any attention. That is where I stop reading, and I feel bad since I am sure they go on to become a great story. 

I apologize if someone feels personally attacked. I am sure I am no better. But I just made a broad post since I see many writers doing the exact same thing. I just hope this helps them evolve and grow into something even better.
peoeyesparkle peoapproval



Sorry, but I disagree. It's not about caring about how a character feels. The characters the story starts with doesn't necessarily even mean anything to the wider story (aka prologues like in A Song of Ice and Fire). But setting the tone and hooking the reader is the most important thing a first chapter has to do.
Slow progression might work for established authors like Murakami but if you don't know the work and you slug through descriptions of everyday life then you might very well set your book on fire and you get more people interested in it that way. The attention span nowadays is very limited. if you don't hook them in the first few paragraphs then you won't have a second chance. 
Also, one more thing: Especially for stories written in third limited or first person. Feelings might be very important to refocus on new realities where new norms are formed, where things like cannibalism for example aren't frowned upon but holding hands is forbidden. Emotions ground the character. Either you infodump morals/norms or you tell it through emotions and/or dialogue. 

Re: A small suggestion for writers- From the reader part of me

#52

arashifufu Wrote: I liked the first blurb way more; the second was confusing. "Parking lot full of plotholes"? What is that supposed to mean? Is it a metaphor? The plotholes make it sound like the parking lot isn't a literal, physical place. "...trying not to let on how much my brother's driving sucked." What has that got to do with anything? Total non-sequitur, feels random and inconsequential. The first sentence felt like the character was retelling her story, but this was like suddenly entering her mind in the moment. Also kinda run-on, the first blurb is more condensed and clear.]
I don't thing it's bad by any means, just explaining why I thought the first one was better. The second one was more confusing and clunky. I had to reread it three times to understand what it meant to say. 

Also, extra comment, a "My life ended 2 months ago" reads as a clear "oh! It's an isekai novel!" flag. (which isn't the case).


They're potholes, not plotholes.

There's only one blurb, and the use of said blurb and the words "as I knew it" avoids signaling an isekai. I'm not seeing what you're seeing, but I'm certainly open to suggestions.

I did like the original opening line better, but it's not the best place for the story to start. 

Re: A small suggestion for writers- From the reader part of me

#53

NovelNinja Wrote: It may sound strange, but sneaking into a heavily-guarded orc fortress to rescue an Imperial spy is what I do for fun.



This was very good. Why did you change it? I know it sounds a little old fashioned but it is quite fun as an opening line.


NovelNinja Wrote: My life as I knew it had ended two months ago. The rest of my life began in a parking lot full of potholes, trying not to let on how much my brother's driving sucked.

The breakdown for that is My (character) life as I knew it (curiosity, question) had ended two months ago. The rest of my life (promise) began in a parking lot full of potholes, trying not to let on how much my brother's driving sucked (scene). Again, it's a little presumptuous to score myself, but this was my aim.



I feel (and this is as a reader) this one is a little too long and use of passive voice in the first line detaches me. I agree with Arashi that the first one is more fun, succint, and compelling than the second. Also, since I know you have your check list, I think you are going a little hard on yourself with this opening by trying to hit the necessary check boxes. Also (and this is me as reader), I like simple direct active opening lines. So, how about this, 

"I started my new life two months ago. It began in a parking lot full of potholes...."

This way we also fix what Arashi said about the Isekai thing.

Re: A small suggestion for writers- From the reader part of me

#54

First, as I said, the old line depending on starting the story well after the main character started playing the game. The current version starts on the first day she uses a VR rig. 

Second, her new life didn't start two months ago. 

Third, regardless of what you might have heard in school (third grade for me, which was way too early to learn the difference), there are very good reasons to use the passive voice. In this case, it's to draw attention to the thing being acted upon, rather than the one initiating the action. 

And lastly, I didn't actually write this to hit checkboxes. I just checked it after it was written. I'm not wedded to the current opener, but I need a clearly better version if I'm going to replace it. 

Re: A small suggestion for writers- From the reader part of me

#55

FantasyBliss30 Wrote: I feel there are wayyyyyyy too many fictions here and not enough time for me to read them. Some of them are really great and ALL of them are products of hard work. And yet, I am frustrated about one thing. And I apologize if someone feels personally attacked. This is not directed at someone or some people in particular at all. AND, mind you, neither does this not apply to all, but I see that it does apply to most. 

The fact that most writers start their stories expecting me to be invested in your characters right from the get go. I mean why? Why should I have to read an entire chapter 1 or prologue of 2000 words of pure angst from a character that I literally could not care less about. Introduce that person to me. Tell me who they are, how they act; so that I can judge for myself if I am ready to care about their angst or not. 

Also, 'I' or 'He' woke up and felt pain and started bleeding and their world is in a turmoil and blah blah blah and that shouts crying for attention and desperate without telling me the reason why I should pay you any attention. That is where I stop reading, and I feel bad since I am sure they go on to become a great story. 

I apologize if someone feels personally attacked. I am sure I am no better. But I just made a broad post since I see many writers doing the exact same thing. I just hope this helps them evolve and grow into something even better.
peoeyesparkle peoapproval


I somewhat agree, some information about the main character should be given at the start. However his life should be gradually revealed not all thrown into one chapter it should span the entire book with clues given here or there. Some stories don't have enough personality involved when the life of a character is spoken about once at the start of a book.

Re: A small suggestion for writers- From the reader part of me

#56

FantasyBliss30 Wrote: I feel there are wayyyyyyy too many fictions here and not enough time for me to read them. Some of them are really great and ALL of them are products of hard work. And yet, I am frustrated about one thing. And I apologize if someone feels personally attacked. This is not directed at someone or some people in particular at all. AND, mind you, neither does this not apply to all, but I see that it does apply to most. 

The fact that most writers start their stories expecting me to be invested in your characters right from the get go. I mean why? Why should I have to read an entire chapter 1 or prologue of 2000 words of pure angst from a character that I literally could not care less about. Introduce that person to me. Tell me who they are, how they act; so that I can judge for myself if I am ready to care about their angst or not. 

Also, 'I' or 'He' woke up and felt pain and started bleeding and their world is in a turmoil and blah blah blah and that shouts crying for attention and desperate without telling me the reason why I should pay you any attention. That is where I stop reading, and I feel bad since I am sure they go on to become a great story. 

I apologize if someone feels personally attacked. I am sure I am no better. But I just made a broad post since I see many writers doing the exact same thing. I just hope this helps them evolve and grow into something even better.
peoeyesparkle peoapproval

I somewhat agree, some information about the main character should be given at the start. However his life should be gradually revealed not all thrown into one chapter it should span the entire book with clues given here or there. Some stories don't have enough personality involved when the life of a character is spoken about once at the start of a book.


Re: A small suggestion for writers- From the reader part of me

#57

NovelNinja Wrote: Third, regardless of what you might have heard in school (third grade for me, which was way too early to learn the difference), there are very good reasons to use the passive voice. In this case, it's to draw attention to the thing being acted upon, rather than the one initiating the action.



I never heard that in third grade lol. I LEARNED how to USE passive voice in 3rd grade lol. 
My comment on passive voice is not what the rules or conventions are, but my own personal taste. :) As a reader, I like succinct direct voices. That is all.
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Re: A small suggestion for writers- From the reader part of me

#59

DrBraun Wrote: That is actually fair criticism! But, to be the Devil's Advocate (mostly because I explained some things in the blurb and started ch 1 cold), it is also a bad idea to do an exposition dump right at the start.




DrBraun Wrote: Again, your take is correct, but it's not the only right way. The devil is in the details; you can butcher a good idea in execution, or pull out a masterpiece from something done before a million times.



200% agree with both comments. I feel there may have been a little misunderstanding on what I posted at the start. The middle could be a great beginning, if you know how to execute it, like you said devil is in the details.

My criticism was mostly about the method/execution of that start.
E.g. First line of Murder of Roger Ackroyd: Mrs Ferrars died on the night of the 16th-17th September - a Thursday.

Simple, clean, no unnecessary exposition, no unnecessary introduction, no unnecessary angst, a clear succint start and yet, clearly in the middle of the plot since it is a murder mystery. And no h/o Mrs. Ferrars either. And yet, I want to read it immediately.
That was what my post was about when starting this thread. Not a commentary on the story structure, but how you write that structure.
Unless your comment is for someone else. I just assumed it was for OP i.e. me.
Thanks, Dr. Braun!
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