OMG. If you haven’t heard, I’ve had drama.
My boss got fired (with cause). There was a metric assload of tasks to do to try to get the department back on track, with every day bringing a new surprise for stuff that wasn’t done at all or done in such a way that left it sabotaged. Then, just as the fires were getting put out, I got let go (along with a bunch of other people). GUH.
So I’m searching for a new job. It’s a nice job market to get laid off in, so I’m not too worried about it. But job hunting is a pain in the ass and takes a lot of time.
At any rate, this section was particularly difficult to write. I tore it out twice before this version, and then rewrote this one quite a bit, too. Every time I worked on this section I was convinced that I was a complete idiot and should just quit.
Talking about the “rules” of a story isn’t easy.
Once you see it, you see it, and you become the Worst Person to Take to a Movie, because most movies don’t have a lot of plot twists to them. Once the rules of a story are set, you know what kind of plot to expect, most of the time.
But how do you teach someone to see those rules?
I’m still fighting to figure it out. But my best guess is to explain one aspect of it, give examples, explain another example, give more examples, etc., and finally sum up the process when it’s done.
Will that work? No idea.
At this point, I mostly just hope that everyone leaves with the knowledge that opening lines don’t have to be brilliant; they just have to confirm that the story is the right genre and tone.
“Opening lines should be brilliant!”
Opening lines should go, “YOU PICKED UP THE RIGHT/WRONG THING! IF IT’S THE RIGHT THING, LET ME HAND YOU OFF TO THE REST OF THE STORY!”
And that right/wrong decision really just boils down to genre, tone, and a character’s voice you want to spend time with.