where should I begin?

Saffy

Science fiction fantasy
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Jul 9, 2007
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writing another novel (hopefully)
Hey, I've not been back he for a while, since I'm here though, I have a minor problem.

I am working on an urban fantasy which focuses on two "normal" people born into almost all witch families in a world where witches are common. As kids, they are jealous of witches, tamper with magic they shouldn't, cause lots of trouble and get punished. As adults, they eventually grow up to be friendly enemies.


So, I could not decide whether to start the story with the characters as childhood friends, trying to get powers and getting punished when it all goes wrong, or if I should skip their childhood altogether and introduce my characters as adults, adding little bits of their shared history bit by bit.

Thanks for any opinions :)
 
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Mourning Star

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Jul 14, 2008
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When you have developed a deep character with lots of back story it is always tempting to show their history first, show why they are like they are, but it really isn't the best way. You have to start where your main character becomes involved in the specific events of the story you intend to tell. You start at the point where something is wrong with the world and the main character is going to have to take action to fix things.

The back story you have developed for your characters is important, but I would almost say that it is more important that the writer know about it than the reader. You will reveal to the reader what you decide is relevant as the story goes on, but the fact that you know the character so well lets you write him or her in a much more consistent and realistic way.

Also, I don't like being so direct with information to my reader as with a character prologue, it reminds me of the information dump. Subtle drops of information and hints, allowing the reader to fill in the gaps and make some guesses of their own, coming to understand the character more as the story progresses, all good things in my opinion.
 

Teresa Edgerton

Goblin Princess
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Try it both ways and see which one works the best. If the early part develops into a great story, keep it in; if it doesn't, then structure your story to begin when they are adults, with appropriate backstory.

If I were you, I wouldn't cut off anything that has the potential to develop into something -- not this early in the process. As a reader, I get frustrated when I read a story that makes me feel as though all the most interesting events happened before the book opened, or that some of the most intriguing possibilities have been ignored.

You don't lose anything by experimenting with different approaches.
 

Saffy

Science fiction fantasy
Joined
Jul 9, 2007
Messages
26
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writing another novel (hopefully)
You have to start where your main character becomes involved in the specific events of the story you intend to tell. You start at the point where something is wrong with the world and the main character is going to have to take action to fix things.

That is a good point, and the story does flow better When I start with the hero just becoming aware of something wrong and taking action, the other way seems to make it stop dead in it's tracks, despite the infodump;)

Thanks for your input guys, I think I'll go for the more subtle approach:)
 

shadowbox

Of the human variety.
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Nov 12, 2008
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Oh the bleeding from the hands thing? It's just al
I'd have to agree with Teresa, I would try both and see which one flows best. I am constantly writing the same scenarios different ways, desperatly pulling ideas out of everywhere till I come up with something great. Really you have an advantage, you have to paths to take, clear paths. All you have to do is choose.

but that's generally the hard part.
 

WafflesToo

Breakfast of choice
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Oct 13, 2008
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111
Depending on the type of book you're writing, it sounds like thier childhood hijinks could be an interesting story all by itself.
 

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