if you don’t think fiction affects reality, lemme just say i just came out of baby driver (a movie about a getaway driver who does a bunch of fast driving and cool car tricks) and this one guy that was in the movie with me started doing donuts with his car and then just sped around at top speeds in the movie theater parking lot after it was over
Do you have any advise on how to open a story? I have all my characters and my plot and my conflict and everything but I don’t know how to start. How to keep a reader hooked and interested enough to keep going.
This is a little ironic, because I’m about to rewrite my opening three chapters for The Warlord’s Contact from scratch for about the tenth time. But practice does make perfect, and boy have I learned a lot through this process.
Sometimes you look at a story and you just know how it needs to open. It’s the most obvious choice in the world, and it’s clear why no other option would work.
Unfortunately, that’s not often the case. Usually, the beginning to your book will take preplanning and rewriting and replanning and bit more rewriting, and all the while you’ll never quite be sure you chose the best spot to open to, or the right characters to introduce, or the proper setting.
Here are a few specific methods of thought for tackling your first chapter…
Disclaimer: I don’t know much about banks. Most of my information came from the internet, so I apologize if any of this is inaccurate.
Lucy slammed her eyes shut in aggravation as she listened to her father ramble over the phone. She tried to cut in three times to tell him her opinion, but he always raised his voice so he could talk over her. After the last attempt, she gave up, letting him talk until his heart’s content.
“The experience you gain today will help you when you get to where I am. Knowing the ins and outs of the business will-”
Lucy stopped listening, holding her phone away from her ear far enough so she couldn’t hear exactly what he was saying, but close enough that she could jump in when he stopped talking.
Her father was hellbent on her staying on as a teller at the bank. It all started when she said she was thinking of taking off a few days a week to focus on writing. Apparently, her father thought that meant she was quitting, so he started ranting about the benefits of working up the line, gaining this experience, and blah blah blah.
Lucy had heard his speech a million times. He told it to her so much she could recite it back to him, but of course he would only call her a smart aleck and tell her she needed to learn some manners.
His speech was wasted though. Lucy had no intentions of staying with the bank, at least not for the rest of her life. She wanted to be an author, to write mysteries and adventures. When she told her father that, he laughed at the idea.
“You need a real job,” he would say. “Who’s going to take over the business when I retire?”
Lucy didn’t know, but she did know it wasn’t going to be her. She had plans for her life, and they didn’t involve counting money all day. She needed excitement!
Lucy stole a peek at her clock, frowning when she saw the time. Risking death by boredom, she put her phone against her ear to talk to her father.
“-and another thing. Did you know-”
“Hey! You’ll have to tell me some other time. I’m going to be late for work.”
“Well that’s not very responsible of you. How will it look having you show up late?”
“I’m guessing not good,” she said, proud of herself for keeping her voice calm despite her growing aggravation. Before he could monopolize the conversation again, she asked, “Can you just think about what I said. I would only need two more days off a week. That shouldn’t cause any problems. Plus, I can afford to take that time off.”
“I’m not concerned about money!” her father yelled, causing her eyes to narrow. “I’m concerned about your lack of responsibility. You are a Heartfilia. You have to-”
“Sorry! Gotta go!” Lucy cut him off before hanging up her phone, sighing when she saw her screen turn black. She pressed a hand to her forehead, cooling herself off. She always got worked up talking to her father. He was as hard-headed as they come.
With a long sigh, Lucy composed herself before heading out the door. She had work soon. Even if she hated her job and disliked her father for making her work there -he threatened to pull her college fund if she quit her job, she still didn’t want to make a bad impression there. Like her father said, she was still a Heartfilia.
-While clocking in, I heard my coworker mention “busting a move in the bathroom.” My legal team has advised me to disclose that this is an entirely unrelated fact, but I have finally found the title for my upcoming debut ska EP.
-A child was rolled away after his mother’s purchase, and not a moment too soon. The forty-something woman behind them had some constructive-adjacent criticism for him and began to aggressively mock his inability to tell apart characters from Thomas the Tank Engine. I aspire to be like this woman, such a strong authority on a subject as to shamelessly school a toddler for such an elementary mistake.
-Today, I am confronting an entity I despise nearly as fervently as the Minions. At the start of my shift, I found myself stationed next to a Boss Baby display of unsettling proportions. I came to terms with this at 11:33, a fact I took note of, as I began a timer to see how long I could go before punting the arrogant entrepreneur all the way to electronics.
-A full roll of stickers was delivered to my lane. I am glad my brand is known enough that my coworkers know what to do when faced with fresh stickers. However, not to look a gift-manager in the mouth, I do wish I had options other than Christmas designs in July.
-A sweet grandmother was very excited about her purchase: a cozy onesie of a bear for her grandson. She raved about how cute it was, and how it even had a small top hat. I am very pleased for her, but I am unsure whether or not it is my place to break the news that she is dressing the boy up as a grizzly demonic animatronic from a franchise decidedly not meant to be marketed this heavily to grade-schoolers.
-It is no secret that I take great joy in riding our motorized shopping carts. Today I have been blessed with enough opportunity to hone my craft into a true art. I organized the cart return area without once dismounting my trusty steed and even took to the untamed wilderness of the parking lot to retrieve an abandoned one. All of the smooth maneuvers I have nailed today are proof that I would make a perfect getaway driver, and I am just one killer track away from being the Baby of shopping center heists.
Person A is an assassin sent to kill a corrupt politician. They’re promised a get away driver and right after the kill, A gets into the car waiting in front of the building. But there’s no driver until 5 seconds later someone, person B, takes the seat.
They drive in complete silence until A realizes they missed the intersection. A speaks up and B swerves, nearly crashing because they didn’t see A there before.
A tells them that they’re the worst getaway driver ever and B is confused because why would this gorgeous stranger need a getaway driver??
Ryan is the Fake ah crew’s hacker, an unassuming dad-looking guy who is surprisingly tech savvy and has a talent for strange malware he has dubbed “Edgar.”
Geoff is their negotiator, a very intelligent, well-read man that hides behind a devil-may-care persona, something many crews have underestimated, often leading to their demise.
Gavin is their leader, a surprisingly intelligent, business savvy man that is often dismissed as a ditzy British boy, a mistake most crews will not make twice.
Michael is the getaway driver, disregarding the rules of the road to get his boys to safety. He’s run over a few rival crew members and has made an entire game out of it.
Jack is the demolitionist, is his bag full of lunches or sticky bombs? It’s probably better if you never find out.
Jeremy is their “interrogator,” though he looks like a sort, funny, fairly sane guy on the outside, as soon as you cross him all level of civility and sanity are gone. He’s unhinged in just the right way, though getting him to come back down is a challenge for anyone outside of the crew.
Chenle: Sniper who is there to take out any big opponents who get in the way of the heist.
Doyoung: Smooth operator who could talk his way out of anything or is good to use as a distraction because of his tendencies to be a drama queen.
Haechan: Demolitions man. Important to have in sticky situations where there seems to be no escape as he can create one using his skills as an expert of explosives. Should only be used in extreme situations because of the casualties.
Jaehyun: Getaway driver whose there for a quick escape, especially handy when things go wrong. Also helps to calm down the others by being an excitable puppy despite the situation.
Jaemin: The Cleaner who cleans up any evidence of the crimes that have taken place during the heist from removing finger prints to cleaning up blood.
Jeno: Look out. In charge of making sure that they aren’t caught before their time is up
Jisung: The rookie or member in training for a position as a gunmen. Too young to actual to become part of the heist.
Johnny: The brute. Because Johnny is tall and has some muscle he would be in charge of brute strength and making sure people listen carefully to instructions. Would literally just intimidate people with his height despite being the softest ball of fluff.
Kun: Medic who is there in case any of the members get hurt and has to step in. Constantly in the background and people often forget he’s even there until they need help.
Mark: Hacker who is in charge of all things to do with computers, mostly used to remove evidence from security cameras.
Renjun: Safe Cracker. He would be in charge of getting into vaults and high security places.
Taeil: The planner who comes up with everything ahead of time and explains in detail what everyone’s job is. He then replays all the plans to the mastermind who puts them into practice.
Taeyong: Mastermind who is in charge of the plan and making sure everything runs smoothly. Makes sure they have time and skills to execute the plan and there to work out an escape if things go wrong.
Ten: Cat Burglar who often checks out the area or location before the plan is put into action so they can map out how everything is gonna happen and if the plan will be successful.
Winwin: The inside man. He’s cute so he can charm anyone into getting what he wants, including information which he then passes onto Taeyong.
Yuta: Hitter aka a professional assassin. If someone need’s to be taken out inconspicuously before the heist then this is the guy to do it.