Friday, June 05, 2009

How to Start a Story

Long time readers will know I'm a fan of The Dresden Files, the books about the wizard Harry Dresden by Jim Butcher. These things are quick, fun to read, and have a way of growing on you. Harry is a character who does the right thing no matter what gets in his way and no matter how likely it is that he will not survive. And he grumbles about it the whole time. Anyhow, the books always start right in the middle of the action and the reader just has to catch up. This is something that I've consciously tried to get better at over the last couple of years. I particularly loved the way book 6, Blood Rites, opens with the following first line: The building was on fire and it wasn't my fault. Right away you know that Harry's in the thick of it and he spends the rest of the chapter running from purple flaming monkey demons. That's the way to start a story.

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