I have had to write down my favourite beginning from a favourite novel, which I must post in the forum (when it opens tomorrow). I can't say anymore about that as I'm not supposed to tell fellow students where it's from. Then the next activity was to write three different openings to a short story or novel, using the following criteria, and something you may want to try yourself:
- Making a startling or arresting statement of fact.
- Offering invitiation to the exotic or particular world of your story.
- Taking the reader in medias res.
It was an interesting exercise, but I'm not sure I've done what was needed, so I'm going to leave the extracts a day or two and look at them again to see if I can make them fit the brief better. On the other hand, one of the suggestions is that it's possible to overthink the opening of a novel or story and I can certainly see that might be a problem!
The third activity was to either write imaginary beginnings to one of three novel extracts we were shown. Or to write a beginning for a new story or novel, using approaches suggested by several well known authors, including Stephen King in this interview in the Atlantic.
I've gone for the latter, as I didn't really relate to the extracts enough to feel enthused to write about them. Also, I feel that I want to be writing my own new stuff for the course, even if my heart once belonged to fanfiction.
As it happens, the extracts I've used in the second two exercises may become part of a longer narrative and the novel I eventually work on. I'm writing them as a means of testing the water for myself, to see if I can keep building on it and have something substantial to do by the time I begin my second year.
And I have now been allocated a tutor. I don't think it would be right to name him on this blog as I must respect his privacy. But it makes it all seem very real now!