Thursday, April 14, 2011

The plane in the picture is Glamorous Glennis, the one Chuck Yeager flew to first break the sound barrier. It never actually took off from the ground, rather it was hauled up by a modified bomber to get it to a high altitude so it wouldn't have to expend rocket fuel just to get airborne. It was released and the rockets were shot off, and from there Yeager took his historic ride.

I liken a lot of the books being sold today to that style of storytelling. The story starts when the vehicle is already up there and it rockets from there. I thought about going that route, but opted for the roller coaster style of story, where the reader starts on the ground and gets six chapters of slowly going up that first rise, looking down, knowing a ride is coming. Then, in chapter seven, the reader crests the hill and away he goes. Well, it's not quite like that in the first six chapters, there's tension and even a corpse, but it's definitely a buildup.

Hopefully I'll never have to change the beginning to move the faster pace up toward the front of the book. I'll resist with all my might. They say to tell the story the best way you know how, and this is the best way for me. Of course, ultimately, if it comes down to changing it to see it published or leaving it to see it sit, I'll change. I won't clutch to it like it's my child. I can see starting the story with chapter seven, but then it wouldn't be as rich. I think the first six give it its backbone. If I was describing the difference, I'd say that with the first six chapters in there, the book is a science fiction novel, but start it at seven and it becomes a techno thriller. Frankly, I'm tired of techno thrillers. They're typically shallow. I want it to be a science fiction novel. If nobody buys it up, and I print some copies for myself via some self-publishing firm, this is the form it will take.

It's funny, after all the crap I've read over the last few years about how a book should be written, where the story should start, etc...I ended up writing the thing that feels natural to me and my instinct.

2 comments:

  1. I think you have to write the story you have to write but we are under pressure to start with a bang it's true. Funnily enough the last two stories I wrote, I actually added to the start after I'd written a couple of chapters. I needed to start further back than I'd thought. So long as the reader jumps on board the moment the story starts - then you can begin where you like. I know you won't have put five chapters in describing planet Zog but I have seen some books that set the scene beautifully but then nothing happens. At all. Is your corpse artistically slaughtered!!!! Please say yes.

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  2. Write what feels right for now and get the whole story written. When you're done, read the entire thing over and then consider if it starts in the right place.

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