Thursday, February 04, 2010
First Chapters and The Central Conflict
In a discussion of whether stories should start with the central conflict
or not . . .
My characters hit the ground running. They are immediatrly in action that is directed literally or metaphorically towards the main plot conflict.
The last couple chapters solve the central problem.
I want my first chapter to open the central problem of the story.
And just to be holisitc and fancy about writing, I want an 'echo' between the beginning and the ending chapters.
If the conflict is resolved when (a) the hidden plans are disposed of and (b) the villain is foiled . . .
I want to open the story with the heroine being tortured by the villain in re the whereabouts of those plans.
(The Spymaster's Lady)
If the conflict is resolved when the heroine succeeds in (a) freeing the hero and (b) saving what is most valuable from the wreck of civilization . . .
I want the story to open with the heroine's determination to free the innocent and the wreck of civilization still smoking in the background.
So, the first chapter is not just a hook, not just interesting action, not just:
this is where everything changes; this is the point of no return; this is the hero's worst day ever.
The first chapter sets the protagonist point blank against the central problem of the story. And he, (or in my case, she,) is taking action.