WIP Wednesday and Openings


I know last week I told you guys that I wrote "The End" on my WIP.  That is true.  However, what I failed to mention was there was one chapter in the middle that I hadn't finished.  I thought I knew where I wanted to go with it, but then when I tried to write it, it didn't work how I wanted it to.  So I've literally been writing, rewriting, scrapping, and starting over for about two weeks now.  It's driving me crazy.  I WILL get this book done by the time I go to RWA Nationals at the end up the month.  I will.  You hear that muse--wherever your sorry butt has flitted off to?  You put down that martini and get back here.

Alright, now the other thing I'm a bit stressed about it my beginning.  Some betas have said that it could to the first meet (hero and heroine) faster--which happens about five pages in.  Others say that the few pages of seeing my MC on a bad date and getting to know her a bit before the big moment works because then they're invested of knowing what her life is like before the point of change.  Then yesterday, during beta club, a commenter (Amelia) mentioned that she's sick of the must open with immediate action structure because you don't have time to care about the characters before the big action.

I've also referenced an article in the past by Jane at Writer's Digest about the Biggest Bad Advice About Story Openings.  Here's what she had to say:

The action ought to have context—and be as grounded as possible in a character that we're already starting to love.


Michael Hauge also said something similar when I went to his Screenplay workshop.  He said in movies, there is a setup.  The first few minutes of the movie usually let us see the characters in their every day lives before the big turning point/inciting incident.  I never really paid attention to this, but now I can't stop noticing it, lol.  I watched Hot Tub Time Machine with the hubs this weekend and the first five or so minutes of the movie is seeing each of the characters living their lives.  If we just started with them jumping into the time machine--we wouldn't be invested.

I personally loathe an opening where someone is running through the woods from some unknown force or they are in the middle of a car crash or someone has a gun to the MC's head for this very reason.  I don't know the character yet, so I don't care if they die.  Harsh, but true.

So how do we decide if a setup works for our book?  And how fast should the setup be? *shrug*  I'm trying to figure that out.  My plan right now is to trim some of the dialogue on my MC's bad date, but still have it there.  Maybe get her and the hero to meet by page three or four.  But we'll see how it goes.  First, I need to get that troublesome chapter out of the way.

So what's your opinion?  Does your book have a "setup" or glimpse into the MC's every day life before the big change?  How do you feel about books that jump right into it without that?  What are some of your favorite openings in books or movies?

**Today's Theme Song**
"Who Are You?" - The Who
(player in sidebar, take a listen)