I watched a movie last week about four guys who build a machine that allows them to travel through time. I ended up turning it off because the story was taking too long to happen. I wanted to see the guys travel through time, not watch them build the machine step by step.
Anyway, the movie got me thinking about story beginnings and how writers are bombarded with messages to start their stories with a hook or to open with a bang. We’re told we only have a few moments or a couple of sentences to grab the reader’s attention or else.
But what about stories that can’t open with a BANG? Stories that need a bit of set up before the action/conflict starts?
I struggle with openings because I like to set the stage. Ease into the story. I have a hard time starting a story in the midst of some big event or as Jennifer Crusie said in an RWA lecture, beginning where the trouble begins. I have to repeat her advice over and over again while writing opening scenes. It helps me stay focused.
So do you struggle with writing opening scenes? And for you hooking pros, got any advice?
As a writer, how do you feel about the emphasis on hooking the reader? Do you feel any sort of added pressure?
As a reader, do you expect to be hooked right away by a story?