Getting It Right – Where to Start


A rare post on writing in a sea of running entries.

For the better part of the past month I’ve been working on the synopsis for Genie Memories.  Long story short – torture, horror, despair, and new swear words learned as well as how to use them.

As much I hate writing this thing, I have to admit that it may have pinpointed a glaring flaw in the story.  A synopsis is supposed to be written in Third Person, Present Tense (regardless if the story is in First Person) and as I’ve been writing this, I’m finding myself having to do a lot of backtracking and Past Tense.

This leads me to the conclusion that maybe, just maybe, the story starts too late.  It may be necessary to add a couple of chapters about what came before.

I’m hesitant on this.  For starters, the opening chapter is quite good.  It’s got a strong hook and delves right into the action.  On the other hand, it begins years after several defining moments in the main character’s life, all of which are referred to in past tense by other characters throughout the story.  A couple of my Beta Readers made comments along these lines.

There are books that start in the present, then jump backwards.  One  on my shelf right now is The Clone Republic by Steven L. Kent.  Chapter One actually fits in somewhere in the last three or four chapters. It opens in AD 2510 and Chapter Two takes us back to AD 2508.  It works quite well.

In my case, I’d be starting 12 years in the past in Chapter One, skipping ahead another ten years in Chapter Two, and finally a few more years in Chapter Three.   I’ve already started sketching the outlines of the chapters and depending on marathon recovery, should be able to get them onto paper late next week.

Here’s hoping it works.

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