Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Begin with telling

Some of my writer friends and I have been discussing novel beginnings. Over the years, fiction has gone through certain trends and conventions. I thought the current convention was to emphasize showing more than telling. Out of curiosity, I went ahead and looked at the beginnings of some of my favorite novels. Incidentally, these are all very successful series.
  • In my business, we not only understand chaos theory, we totally abide by it. Chaos happens. Always plan for speed.

    Either the Djinn was putting me on, which would be seriously unfunny, or the spell was coming from Elsewhere. I hoped not an Elsewhere that began with the letter Hell.--Ill Wind Rachel Caine.

  • I heard the mailman approach my office door, half an hour earlier than usual. He didn't sound right. His footsteps fell more heavily, jauntily, and he whistled. A new guy. He whistled his way to my office door, then fell silent for a moment. Then he laughed.--Storm Front Jim Butcher
  • There are some men who enter a woman's life and screw it up forever. Joseph Morelli did this to me--not forever, but periodically.--One for the Money Janet Evanovich
  • I'd been waiting for the vampire for years when he walked into the bar.--Dead Until Dark Charlaine Harris
Oh dear. In this brief unscientific survey of hugely successful novels, 100% start with telling. I can take a hint. :)

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