Monday, May 25, 2009

Experiment with the First Scene

How many ways are there to revise scene 1? Nancy Kress, in Beginnings, Middles, and Ends, provides lots of options. Here are some ideas.

Change your point of view. Write in third person instead of first. Try it in second person and see what happens. What if your narrator is omnicient and knows everything everybody is thinking?

Change tense. Try writing your first five paragraphs in present tense, rather than past.

Change the point of entry into your story. Try starting later or earlier than your original first scene. What happens?

Change your narrative mode, your way of presenting information. There are five narrative modes: dialogue, description, action, thoughts and exposition. Try one of these:

Begin your scene with a description of an important object.

Begin with your main character egaged in some significant action.

Begin with an outrageous opinion the main character thinks but would never say out loud.

Begin with six lines of dialog between two characters, an argument important to the plot.

Begin with a description of the room where the first scene occurs. Use details that reflect the plot or owner's personality.

Does one of the variations feel right? Did it spark new ideas or possibilities you didn't realize were there?

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