Tag Archive - MDQ

The Crucial Question You Must Ask in Your Opening Scene

I talked a bit about theme and plot goals in previous weeks’ posts, so once you have all those points in mind, think what scene would best set up your premise, plot arc, character arc, theme, and mood.

You may have to write a bunch of different first chapters, as I sometimes do. Sometimes it’s not until you near the end of writing your book do you get the right idea for the opening scene. You might be like John Irving, who starts every novel with the last line of his book and works backwards (yes, he does!).

But he’s on to something there—do you see? He knows exactly where he wants his readers to end up—plot-wise and theme-wise. He already knows the end of the story and the take-home feeling he wants to evoke, so he sets about figuring how to lead that back to the start. Maybe that technique will work for you. Continue Reading…