Category Archives: storytelling

What happens on page 50?

i-flip-flap-184343_1280Writing a novel? Make sure to heat the seats first.

This post by Paula Munier in Jane Friedman’s blog gives some great advice for writers on how to move your reader into the story.

She likens it to using a remote car starter and heated seats before you begin a journey on a cold winter day:

“Every reader starts a story cold, and you want to warm the reader up to your story as quickly as possible,” writes Paula Munier in Jane Friedman’s blog. “You want the reader to slip into a warm seat in a hot story with a blazing beginning and take off for parts known only to you, the writer.”

According to Munier, there are three literary devices that will help you achieve this:

  1. Start with a scene that introduces your story idea. (Think “Jaws” and how that opening set the story for the book without a scrap of dialogue.)
  2. Start with the scene that foreshadows the story idea. (Munier gives the example of Sleeping Beauty and the fairy’s curse.)
  3. Start with the scene that sets up the story idea with action. (Princess Leia hiding the plans for the Death Star in R2-D2 is a classic example.

My favorite piece of advice in this post is “Turn to page 50.” Munier believes that most beginning writers take too long to warm up the story, and it doesn’t usually get going until around page 50 (or about 15,000 words). Turn to page 50, and see what your characters are doing. THIS might be the right place to start for a story that compels your readers to come along.