opening your story–where to start your novel
Alrighty then. You need a whiz-bang a-number-one first sentence that draws your reader in. Makes him/her sit up and and say, “Thank you sir, may I have another?”
That’s a given.
But where, exactly, in the story, do you start?
HINT: Not at the very beginning.
Little Red Riding Hood does not start with the first time Little Red takes a basket to her grandmother, or the first time The Wolf eats a kid.
Harry Potter doesn’t start with Voldemort killing Harry’s parents.
Catcher in the Rye doesn’t start with Holden Caulfield’s arrival at Pencey Prep.
Your reader does not want to wade through all the backstory to get to the interesting bits. That’s your job.
Begin your novel on the day that is different.
Look at the point in the story these kidlitters chose to start:
In the Path of Falling Objects by Andrew Smith: The day Jonah and Simon leave their home to meet up with their brother and father.
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: Reaping Day
Escaping the Tiger by Laura Manivong: The night Vonlai and his family cross the Mekong River to escape Laos.
Plunge your readers into the thick of it, and don’t explain everything.
Give them a reason to turn the page.